2021 (Credit: Allison Bell/ALM)

A web-based insurance broker, eHealth Inc., polled U.S. health insurers and found that COVID-19 might have a surprising effect on 2021 health insurance premiums.

At this point, most health insurers are predicting that COVID-19 will have little effect on 2021 health insurance product menus or premiums, according to eHealth’s analysis of the survey results.

“Eighty-three percent of insurer respondents say they do not anticipate raising rates in 2021 as a result of the crisis,” eHealth said in a summary of the survey results.

The Santa Clara, California-based company runs eHealthInsurance.com and other health insurance websites.

The company polled all of the health insurers with which it has a business relationship from March 30 through April 2. More than half of the insurers — 33 — filled out and sent in their questionnaires.

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Some of the participating insurers are in the group market, and some in the individual and family market.

Although 17% of the insurers said they think COVID-19 could lead to an increase in rates, none predicted COVID-19 would increase 2021 rates by more than 5 %, according to eHealth.

Here are some of the other survey results:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic tests: 32 of the 33 insurers said they’re waiving deductibles and other out-of-costs for testing.
  • COVID-19 treatment: 19 of the insurers said they’re waiving out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 treatment.
  • Telemedicine: 32 of the insurers are seeing enrollees making more use of telemedicine services.
  • Pent-up demand for care: Shelter-in-place rules and consumer and provider worries about infection have been causing a sharp reduction in preventive care and routine care. About 80% of the insurers polled — 26% — told eHealth they expect the current difficulties with getting care to lead to a spike in medical claims once the COVID-19 crisis is over..

— Read What If COVID-19 Lowers Health Claims?on ThinkAdvisor.

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