Health insurers have been even more uncertain when they were setting next year’s exchange plan rates than they were when they were setting this year’s exchange plan rates.
Avalere Health has published data hinting at that possibility in a look at early 2015 individual exchange “qualified health plan” (QHP) rate filings.
If insurers had a good feel for QHP claims, the range between the rates the cheapest insurers charge and the most expensive insurers charge ought to shrink, according to Matt Eyles, an Avalere Health analyst.
Instead, the price range seems to be growing, the analysts found.
The analysts used data from nine states — Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, Maine, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and Washington — to calculate the monthly silver plan premium for a 40-year-old non-smoker.
The nine-state average premium for the 40-year-old non-smoker could increase 8 percent in 2015, to $350.
At the state level, the average proposed rate changes range from a 1.4 percent decrease in Oregon, to $272 per month, to an increase of 16 percent in Indiana, to $394 per month.
In Maryland, the cheapest silver plan could cost $231, and the most expensive could cost $369. The range would be about the same as it is today.
In the eight other states, the gap could be considerably wider than it is today.
In Indiana, for example, the range is now about $250 to about $450. Next year, the range could widen to $211 to $587. In Maine, the range could grow to $283 to $531, from about $275 to $450. In heavily regulated Vermont, rates now cluster around $410 month. The range could increase to $430 to $504.
When insurers were developing 2014 QHP rates a year ago, they had no idea how the public exchange system or the QHPs would really work. This year, the exchanges and the QHPs are up and running.
“However, given the timing of plan filings for 2015, issuers had very little data from the 2014 market to inform their pricing strategy,” Eyles said in a statement about the data.
In some states, more insurers are entering the exchange QHP market, and that’s also affecting the range of prices, Eyles said.