Premium Growth Slows in California’s Individual Market Following ACA Implementation

Premium rate growth for health plans sold in California’s individual market has slowed since the arrival of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Covered California, according to a CHCF review of insurers’ rate renewal filings from 2011 to 2016.

With CHCF’s new interactive tool, users can see how premium rate increases in the individual market have changed over time. The tool allows users to examine premium increases by year, carrier, size, regulator, and more. (Note that figures for 2016 are still preliminary, as additional rate filings could still be submitted.)

Image of Data Interactive Tool with Individual Health Insurance Premium Increases, CA 2011-2016

Some key findings from this review are:

  • The median rate increase was 6% in 2015 and 3.8% in 2016, lower than the median increases of 8.2% to 10% seen between 2011 and 2013.
  • A similar trend was also found in increases for filings affecting 25,000 enrollees or more.
  • Three-quarters of all enrollees in 2015 and 2016 were in plans that filed increases of 6% or less compared to 9% or less in 2012 and 19.4% or less in 2013.

California Individual Market Premium Increases Based on State Regulator Rate Filings

Look for yourself: The interactive tool enables users to easily group and filter elements to view individual market premium changes in a variety of ways. Medians are identified for each year. Data can be downloaded. Look for a similar interactive tool tracking small group market premiums in the months ahead.

Caveats: Keep in mind that these data do have some important limitations. The premium increases filed represent an overall average for each health plan’s individual business. The increase for a specific product or geographic area could vary. Note too that most adults will also see an increase in their rates because they are a year older. This birthday effect is separate from insurers’ rate filing increases.

Grandfathered health plans renewing in 2016 are not included here because their rate filings are not yet available. Watch for an update after all 2016 filings are complete.

Finally, the filings capture changes to existing products, not the impact of new product filings. Many 2014 products were new and therefore are not reflected in the 2014 figures.

Note: As of July 12, 2016, the data tool has been updated to reflect finalized filings; the actual data may now vary from the discussion here.