Policies purchased through state’s exchange will have higher premiums beginning in 2015
Those that have purchased health insurance coverage through the Louisiana exchange could see their rates increase in the coming year. The state’s Department of Insurance has announced that approximately 60,000 people that have purchased coverage through the exchange will see rate increases in the double-digits in 2015. This expectation of higher rates comes after receiving proposals from insurance companies. Many insurers are looking to raise the rates for the coverage that they provide in order to better position themselves in a changing health care landscape.
Higher rates may be the symptom of a problematic health care system
According to the state agency, the average rate increase for individual policies will be as much as 13%. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon suggests that rate increases are largely due to changes in the health care system. The Affordable Care Act is the reason behind the majority of these changes, and Louisiana officials had opposed the health care reform law for some time before it was passed in 2010. The changes that the law introduced to health care meant that insurers were facing new financial challenges. In order to overcome these challenges, they have been raising rates on some forms of coverage.
Exchange has expanded the availability of insurance coverage
An estimated 101,000 people throughout Louisiana have signed up for health insurance coverage through the state’s exchange. This coverage went active at the beginning of the year and many people have been using their policies quite heavily since then. The exchange has succeeded in expanding the availability of insurance coverage, and as such has presented new financial stress to insurance companies that can no longer deny coverage to those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Consumers can shop for new coverage later this year
The Affordable Care Act had promised to give people access to inexpensive insurance coverage, but with rate increases coming from insurers, this may not be the case. The good news, however, is that those that do not want to pay more for their coverage will be able to shop for new policies through insurance exchanges beginning on November 15 this year. The policies purchased during the next open enrollment period will offer the same level of benefits, but may be somewhat less expensive.