COVID Factor Could Both Raise, Reduce ACA Rates Next Year

As health insurers gear up for the 2022 rate-filing season for Affordable Care Act exchange plans, the good news is that much of the regulatory uncertainty seen in years past has dissipated — save for a looming Supreme Court decision on the ACA’s legality. However, the pandemic’s effect on medical spending is a nebulous factor that insurers can’t escape this year, and it’s likely to have a wide-ranging impact, says David Dillon, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries.

Dillon, who works directly with insurers and regulators to develop and review health insurance rates, predicts the COVID-19 impact on premiums will be anywhere from a 5% decrease to a 5% increase. Medical cost inflation, he estimates, will increase rates by 4% to 6%, while the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of premium subsidies will decrease rates by 1% to 4%.

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Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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