Covered California Announces 2019 Individual Market Rate Increases

Covered California on Thursday announced an expected average 8.7 percent increase in individual market health insurance premiums in 2019. Covered California noted, however, that consumers will likely be able to avoid any increase in premiums if they switch to the lowest cost plan within the same coverage tier.

Thursday’s announcement described how federal policy actions, namely the decision to eliminate the individual mandate penalty, will raise costs for the federal government and all consumers in the individual and employer-sponsored health insurance markets. As such, the expected 2019 rate increase is nearly double what it would have been if Congress had not eliminated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. The repeal of the individual mandate added between 2.5 and 6 percentage points to individual market rates.

Despite the rate increase, all 11 insurers currently operating in the exchange will return for the 2019 coverage year. Covered California indicated a strong and stable marketplace as the state heads into its sixth year. The 2019 rate increase proposal now heads to state regulators for final review. For more information, including regional rate changes, the full Covered California announcement is available here.