Dave Dillon, an actuary, predicts that individual major medical insurance products will continue to exist in the United States next year.
If the current regulatory environment stays reasonably stable, prices could even be somewhat more stable in 2019 than they were this year, Dillon says in a new commentary.
Dillon, a vice president at Lewis & Ellis Inc., helps insurers design health insurance products. He has also helped states review health insurance rates, and he hears from other actuaries through his work on the Society of Actuaries Health Section council.
Health insurers are already developing their rates for 2019 coverage.
A year ago, he predicted that, in many parts of the country, typical individual major medical rate increases could range from about 10% to 20%, and that many insurers would continue to participate in the market.
This year, he is giving a somewhat more optimistic forecast about how the 2019 market could look.
He estimates that:
- The underlying level of medical cost inflation could range from 6% to 8%.
- The move by Congress to eliminate the Affordable Care Act penalty for people who fail to have solid major medical coverage could add 7.5 percentage points to 2019 rate increases.
- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduction in the corporate income tax rate could cut typical increases by at least 0.5 percentage points.
- The elimination of the ACA health insurer fee could reduce rate increases by 2 percentage points.
All of those factors combined could lead to add about 3.5% to 13% to 2019 rate increases, on top of whatever changes insurers seek as a result of the nature of their own enrollees and their own markets, according to ThinkAdvisor Life/Health calculations based on Dillon’s figures.