ACA Health Plan Rates Drop For Second Year Straight

The cost of health insurance sold through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace will drop again next year for the second year straight. The average price for the most common type of health insurance plan sold on HealthCare.gov should fall by about 4 percent on average for next year. Several states could see declines as high as in the double-digits.

According to a report from the Health and Human Services department, the average premium for the benchmark plan, which is used to calculate subsidies, will drop from $406 to $388. About two-thirds of enrollees receiving subsidies will pay less than $75 per month in premiums for the same level of coverage. Roughly one-third will pay less than $10 per month.

Subsidies are not available to individuals who earn more than $49,960 and families of four who earn more than $103,000 a year for 2020. Of those earning too much to receive the subsidies, more than a third will pay more than $500 per month in premiums. Nearly another third will pay between $300 and $500 per month.

The drop in premium costs is partially due to an increase in the number of insurance companies selling ACA health plans for 2020. Twenty more insurers are joining the federal exchanges, bringing the total to 175 for next year. In 2018, there were 132 participating insurance companies.

The number of states with only one carrier is dropping to two, down from five this year, and only 12 percent of ACA customers live in counties that will have only one insurer in the marketplace for the coming year, down from nearly 30 percent for 2018.

The seventh annual enrollment season opens on November 1 and runs through December 15 in the 39 states relying on the federal enrollment platform. According to the most recent federal figures, 10.6 million consumers had ACA health plans as of early this year. That number is expected to remain about the same for the coming year.