Covered California says health care premiums will go up modestly for most people buying coverage on the state exchange next year. But officials say the change in monthly costs depends on the individual.
The state-run exchange says on average, premiums will go up a little more than 4 percent statewide. Some people won’t see a change, others might pay less every month. Executive Director Peter Lee says consumers have choices.
“Health care is personal. For some, premiums might go up 15%, not very many. But for them, they have the ability to shop,” says Lee.
Lee says the rates were developed over time though rigorous negotiation with insurers. He says they didn’t allow insurers to change geographic areas, and every plan now has children’s dental care.
Insurers say Covered California’s active role did help keep rates lower.
But Charles Bacchi of the California Association of Health Plans says industry is not expecting medical costs to raise dramatically either.
“It really puts us in a strong position to have good enrollment in year two. Which is really critical to making this a success in California,” says Bacchi.
Consumer advocates are pleased with the proposed rates. Executive Director of Health Access, Anthony Wright, says more reform is needed in the health care system. But he says the proposed 2015 Covered California rates are part of an improvement from the past.
"Health insurance is not cheap or easy," says Wright. "These efforts are making health insurance cheaper and easier than it would have been."
The Covered California rates are pending review from California’s two insurance regulators.
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