2016 brings changes to health insurance rates - some up, others down

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Oct 20, 2015 2:22 PM

(Harrisburg) -- It's a split decision for health insurance plans in the midstate.

Of the 18 lowest-priced plans on the "silver tier"of the federal marketplace, nine are raising rates.

But nine are reducing monthly charges.

The average plan in the group will cost $240 a month, without factoring in tax credits that are available based on income.

State Insurance Commissioner Theresa Miller says the fact that some plans are pushing rates higher, while others are reducing them show a split in thinking that goes back to last year...

"They just took different approaches. Some of them have over-priced and not meant to, some may have under-priced. And now I think the last few years have really been the carriers trying to figure out where they need to be. But this is the first year they had actual 2014 claims experience to base next year's rates on."

Miller - who has to review any rate increases above 10 percent - says she pushed down some extreme hikes because she thinks last year's results were out of the ordinary.

"This is the first year where companies actually have a year's worth of claims experience to base their rates on for next year. They had no actual experience with this population to base those rates on," she adds.

She reasons - and other experts agree - many people got health insurance for the first time last year, so they used more services than usual.

Five new plans are entering the midstate market as well.

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