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October 12, 2018

Premiums for health insurance on federally-supported exchanges fall in 2019

The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has estimated that the average premium for second lowest cost silver plans (SLCSP) will decrease by 1.5% for the 2019 coverage year.

The average health insurance premiums have dropped for the first time since the launch of the Federally- facilitated Exchange in 2014.

Tennessee will achieve the largest reduction with a 26.2% drop in premium amount.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma said: “Despite predictions that our actions would increase rates and destabilize the markets, the opposite has happened. The drop in benchmark plan premiums for plan year 2019 and the increased choices for Americans seeking insurance on the exchanges is proof positive that our actions are working.

“While we are encouraged by this progress, we aren’t satisfied. Even with this reduction, average rates are still too high. If we are going to truly offer affordable, high quality healthcare, ultimately the law needs to change.”

Upon implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regulations in 2014, average individual premiums recorded more than two-fold increase, from $2,784 per year in 2013 to $5,712 on HealthCare.gov in 2017, representing a 105% increase.

HealthCare.gov states the average premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan surged by 37% between 2017 and 2018.  The increase in average premiums stood at 25% between 2016 and 2017.

To deal with market stability issues and to improve the performance of the Federally-facilitated exchanges, the CMS proposed a market stabilisation rule. Over the past year and a half, CMS has approved reinsurance programmes in seven states which helped to cut health insurance premiums.

The new rule will enable Americans to pay lower premiums on health plans purchased on the federal exchange for this upcoming Open Enrollment.

CMS operates as a federal agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and administers the Medicare programme.

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