Covered California rates going up
July 28, 2015
Health premiums for Californians using Obamacare will rise by an average of 4 percent in 2016. [LA Times]
Premiums offered in Covered California, the state exchange, also increased by an average of 4 percent this year. Supporters of the system, however, say the 4 percent increase is good news, since rates could have gone up more.
Gerald Kominski, director of UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, said premiums for health coverage typically rose by more than 10 percent annually prior to Obamacare. Kominski also said 20 percent of Covered California customers are in line for a rate decrease in 2016.
“When is the last time any of us saw our premiums go down?” Kominski said. “Covered California continues to be a very successful negotiator.”
Currently, 1.3 million Californians buy individual policies through Covered California. About 30,000 of those customers will have rate hikes of more than 15 percent in the upcoming year if they do not change health plans.
Rates will rise by 7 percent in Northern California. Premiums will increase less than 2 percent in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Prices are historically higher in Northern California, where big health systems have market clout.
Statewide, the largest health insurers are Anthem Inc., Blue Shield of California and Kaiser. In 2016, Anthem Inc. premiums will increase by an average of 5.9 percent, Kaiser rates will go up by 5.2 percent and Blue Shield premiums will rise by 2.3 percent.
In a recent survey, 44 percent of Covered California customers said they found it difficult to pay their monthly premiums. Some people have also said they feel shortchanged in terms of the doctors they can see and the service they receive from Covered California or their insurer when health problems arise.