By KELLY MCEVERSAssociated PressHealth insurance premiums for Ohioans are up, while the number of uninsured has increased, but state officials say they’re not ready to call it a day.
In the Ohio Insurance Commissioner’s Office, which oversees the health insurance marketplaces, the average premium was up by 5.5 percent to $11,834.
That was an average of $1,958 for the most recent two-week period.
The average premium for an Ohio individual who has no dependents is up to $22,079, while premiums for family members are up to an average $24,945.
The increase in premiums, however, does not include the cost of any benefits insurers would pay if the law is repealed.
State officials say the insurance premiums are based on a survey of 6,500 Ohio residents, and they expect them to rise further as people sign up for the marketplaces.
The Ohio Insurance Department says it expects premium growth in the second quarter, which begins Oct. 1.
“We believe the Ohio Health Insurance Marketplace is one of the most successful and competitive in the country,” Ohio Insurance Secretary Steven Hensley said.
“I am confident that the marketplace will continue to deliver high-quality and affordable insurance to Ohioans.”
Insurers say the increases are part of a wider trend.
Insurers also said in a statement that the number the market has seen of new enrollees has decreased, while those who have been on the exchange for a month or more have seen increases.
But in a report to the state Board of Insurance Commissioners released Wednesday, state officials said premiums are still higher than in other states.
The average annual increase was 7.3 percent, while average annual rate increases were 8.6 percent and 10.3 in Ohio, and 5.9 percent in Kentucky.
“I think this report is really the first step toward the implementation of the Affordable Care and COVID-19 coverage provisions,” Hens, the Ohio secretary, said.
Hens said that for those who signed up for an insurance plan through the exchange, premiums have gone up by about $400, a trend that is expected to continue in the new year.
“The average increase in the first quarter was 8.4 percent, but that will be a significant increase, especially for people who have not been able to find a plan or plan that they like,” Hins said.
The state’s exchange will remain open through the end of the year.
Ohioans with preexisting conditions and those who are uninsured would continue to be charged the premium, while people with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will pay an additional $300.
The increase is based on the average family of four earning $42,742 and $70,914.
Ohio officials said the average household income for Ohioan with a high school diploma is $51,053.
Those with some college, a high-school diploma or a high earner income of $100,000 would see their premium increases.
Ohio Insurance Commissioner Steven Hins speaks during a news conference on the Affordable Health Care Act at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2020.
The cost of a new health plan is a major factor in determining the average increase for a family.
Insurance companies will pay premiums based on how much they charge for an individual policy, and that calculation could be higher or lower depending on the type of plan and the person’s income.
The Ohio Insurance Commission is estimating that the average annual cost of an Ohioans health insurance policy would increase to $23,846, with the average monthly premium up by $3,300, or 4.5%.
The increase for an average family is expected at a rate of 3.6%, or about $3.80.
State Insurance Commissioner Gary O. Bieda said that, despite the average rate increases, the premium increases are still a lot lower than the average in other large states.
He said the increases were mostly a result of the state not having any preexisted conditions, which is a key component in Ohio.
The state has about 9.6 million Ohioans with pre-existing conditions, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
“That is a very important factor, and it is why we have the lowest rates,” Biedd said.
Biedd also noted that the Ohio average premium is about $8,000 less than the national average.
Ohioans have the third lowest median household income in the nation at $44,722, according a new analysis by the Urban Institute.
Beddoes spokeswoman Michelle Rios said the premium increase reflects a number of factors including the new insurance coverage, the Affordable Healthcare Act and COIDS-19.
She said insurance companies are also looking at how to handle the cost-sharing reduction payments, which Ohioans will pay under the new law.