Forget the scary rate shock warnings — at least for now.
New analysis from Avalere Health finds premium rates for mid-range or “silver” health insurance plans are falling below Congressional Budget Office estimates, signaling the state exchanges — the key component to President Obama’s health law — is working.
The analysis from the consulting firm comes just as the Obama administration continues to take heat for the law. In a report Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office pointed to challenges in opening the federal exchanges on time. But Avalere said the initial filings are good news for consumers and the administration.
“The initial data suggest that competition in exchanges is working to lower premiums, which will benefit nonsubsidized enrollees and the federal government,” said Caroline Pearson, vice president at Avalere Health.
For their report, Avalere compared CBO estimates for silver plan rates with insurer rate filings for 2014 that were made available this month.
For example, they found premiums for the second-lowest cost silver plans for a 40-year-old nonsmoker will range from a low of $205 in one region in Oregon to a high of $413 in another region in Vermont. CBO previously projected nationwide the average monthly premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan would be $433.
These second-lowest-cost silver premiums will be used to set federal premium subsidies. If premiums are lower than CBO projections, federal costs for per-person subsidies might be lower than expected, thus saving the federal government money, researchers said.