Average Monthly Rate Changes 2021
Premiums for health insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act are holding steady in 2021.
That’s good news for the more than 10 million Americans who buy Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare or ACA) plans each year.
As of last October before open enrollment began, final approved rate filings for 28 states showed an average increase of 1.2%.
Premiums are stable despite COVID-19 and potential risks to the ACA as the Supreme Court takes up a challenge to the law.
The federal market serving 36 states launched enrollment November 1, 2020, wrapping up December 15, 2020, but the Biden administration created a special enrollment period from February 15 to August 15, 2021 to deal with the pandemic.
Following years of stiff increases after the ACA was enacted, rates have stabilized since 2018.
Approved rates for all 50 states in the last period, 2020, posted an average drop of 1.09% from 2019.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports the average monthly premium for the second lowest cost silver plan (also called the benchmark plan) dropped by 2% to $1,486 for a typical family of four in 2021.
Factors behind rising rates can include skyrocketing pharmaceutical costs, hospital mergers and conglomerates absorbing doctor practices.
Rates can drop when states institute reinsurance programs that reduce unsubsidized premiums.
Fears had mounted that COVID-19 would cause rates to jump. But the virus turned out to be a non-event as far as ACA premiums were concerned.
Instead, it had a negligible impact because the expected increase was canceled out by a reduction in nonessential services as people put off procedures.
ACA insurance plans come in different price tiers bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The average projected annual premium for 2021 is $6965, up $53 on 2020.
Enrollment in the ACA has been stable in recent years. But the special enrollment period that the Biden administration introduced for COVID-19 boosted subscriptions by over one million, while the ongoing Supreme Court case presents an unknown.