Last month Quotebroker collaborated with Emily Bazar, columnist and senior writer for the California HealthCare Foundation Center for Health Reporting, to look deeper into CoveredCa’s 2016 rate adjustment announcement. CoveredCA’s focus was on a relatively modest weighted rate increase of only 4.0%. However, Emily and I dug deeper into the proposed benefit summaries to unearth some important changes that helped CoveredCA keep the 2016 rates in check.
Just as in life, in insurance there is “no free lunch.” An insurance policy has many moving parts, and when you add, remove, or change one of the parts there is going to be an affect elsewhere in the policy. Health policies have a rate “adjustment” every year, but frankly we all know this is just a nice way to say “increase.” 90% of the time the adjustment is upward and rarely do you get the downward move in premium. The 2016 rate increase came in less than its 2015 counterpart, as detailed in this CoveredCA rate increase press release. In order to hold premiums down to that level, it looks like for the first time CoveredCA had to make some benefit changes, especially to the Bronze and Enhanced Silver plans. While your premium may only rise a few percentage points or less, you may now have a higher deductible, higher copays to see the doctor, higher specialist costs, or less prescription drug coverage. This trade off may work for you, or you may prefer a higher level of benefits. Emily goes into greater detail in her excellent, easy to digest summary.
The key takeaway is that you must be proactive and shop your health coverage every year. You can do it yourself or you can work with a licensed, certified agent that can do the heavy lifting for you. The era of simply accepting your current company’s new plan and rate by default is over, for better or for worse. 2016 is bringing with it for the first time not only benefit changes but new carriers into the market. we are hopeful this increased competition will provide a better experience and ultimately better value for you ,the customer.