Studies reveal shrinking access to and increased costs of health care coverage for many in the U.S. And analysts worry about 2022 insurance premiums.


Roll Call:
Health Care Rates For 2021 Stable, But 2022 May Bring Challenges


A drop in health care costs is projected to keep insurance rates low in 2021, but long-term worries about the COVID-19 pandemic are raising concerns about potential spikes in future years. Final rate increases in the individual market are under 5 percent in places like Idaho, the District of Columbia and Minnesota. Several states, including Hawaii and Oregon, are even expecting price drops. (Clason, 10/8)

Fewer children are insured —


The New York Times:
Even As The Economy Grew, More Children Lost Health Insurance


The share of children with health coverage in the United States fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data, after decades of increases. The decline occurred during a period of economic growth — before the coronavirus pandemic caused broad job losses that might have cost many more Americans their health insurance. (Sanger-Katz and Goodnough, 10/9)


Houston Chronicle:
Texas Leads Nation In Uninsured Kids


One in seven children in Harris County were uninsured in 2019, one of the highest rates in the country and almost triple the national average, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. (Wu, 10/9)

DENVER (AP) — Filings with the Colorado Division of Insurance indicate the monthly cost of health insurance bought through the state’s exchange is expected to drop an average of 1.4% next year.

Costs depend on where someone lives, though, The Denver Post reported Thursday. Residents in some counties on the Eastern Plains will see 12% increases in their monthly premiums, while Park County residents could pay 12% less, on average.

In Denver, the average premium will drop 1.2%, though surrounding counties will see even bigger decreases.

The Post reports that the average can conceal significant differences among companies, however, and customers should consider the trade-off between higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.


State officials estimate premiums will be about 20.8% lower than they would have been without the reinsurance program, which acts as a backstop for insurers by reimbursing some of the cost of covering customers with higher medical bills.

Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said reinsurance has helped, but it could be hard to find an affordable plan in the 10 counties where only one insurer is selling on the exchange.

Premiums in the small-group market, which isn’t affected by reinsurance, will rise about 3.8%. The small group market is open to businesses with no more than 100 employees.

Source Article

The high cost of health care is persisting during the pandemic, even for people lucky enough to still have job-based insurance.

The average annual cost of a health plan covering a family rose to $21,342 in 2020, according to the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks employer-based coverage. Workers paid about a quarter of the total premiums, or $5,588, on average, with their employers picking up the rest of the cost.

An analysis of the results was published Thursday online in Heath Affairs, an academic journal. While premiums rose only slightly from the 2019 survey, the increase in premiums and deductibles together over the last decade has far outpaced both inflation and the growth in workers’ earnings. Since 2010, premiums have climbed 55 percent, more than double the rise in wages or inflation, according to the foundation’s analysis.

About 157 million Americans had coverage from their employer before the pandemic, but millions have lost their insurance along with their jobs over the past several months. Many experts expect more people to lose coverage in the coming months as companies lay off workers or drop their health benefits.

“Nothing changed much, but then everything changed,” said Gary Claxton, a senior vice president at the foundation. The survey was conducted from January through July of this year, making it hard for the researchers to see how the changed circumstances will affect costs and employers’ willingness to pay for coverage.

“Things may look different moving forward as employers grapple with the economic and health upheaval sparked by the pandemic,” Drew Altman, the foundation’s chief executive, said a statement.

The survey also underscored how much workers with health insurance still have to spend out of pocket for their care. In addition to paying for their share of premiums,

The monthly cost of insurance bought through the exchange in Colorado will drop an average of 1.4% next year, according to filings with the Colorado Division of Insurance.

Your costs depend on where you live, though. Some counties on the Eastern Plains will see 12% increases in their monthly premiums, while Park County residents could pay 12% less, on average.

In Denver, the average premium will drop 1.2%, though surrounding counties will see bigger decreases. The average can conceal significant differences among companies, however, and customers have to consider the trade-off between higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs when they need care.

State officials estimated premiums will be about 20.8% lower than they would have been without reinsurance. The reinsurance program acts as a backstop for insurers, so they’re reimbursed some of the cost of covering customers with higher medical bills. It’s not clear what will happen to that program if the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act, because the law included a provision allowing states to experiment with ways to lower premiums, including reinsurance.

Adam Fox, deputy director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said reinsurance has helped, but it may be difficult to find an affordable plan in the 10 counties where only one insurer is selling on the exchange.

“Unfortunately, some carriers are still increasing rates in some areas, and any rate increase during this public health crisis is too much for many Coloradans who are already struggling,” he said in a news release.

Gov. Jared Polis said more needs to be done to lower the cost of health care. It’s not clear what might gain traction when the Legislature returns next year, however, since proposals for sweeping changes were derailed by the pandemic.

“My administration is committed to helping save people money even more on

Health insurance costs for Americans who get their coverage through work continued a relentless march upward with average family premiums rising 4% to $21,342 this year, according to a study published Thursday.

The annual survey by KFF found workers on average are paying nearly $5,600 this year toward family coverage, up from about $4,000 in 2010 and $1,600 in 2000. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

While health insurance costs rose a modest amount in 2020, as has been the trend in recent years, they soared 55% in the past decade — more than twice the pace of inflation and wages.

About 157 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage — far more than any other type of coverage, including Medicare, Medicaid and individually purchased insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. More than half of employers provide insurance to at least some workers.

“Conducted partly before the pandemic, our survey shows the burden of health costs on workers remains high, though not getting dramatically worse,” Drew Altman, KFF’s CEO, said in a statement. “Things may look different moving forward as employers grapple with the economic and health upheaval sparked by the pandemic.”

The survey was conducted from January to July as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and upended the nation’s economy. Many of the details of the employers’ plans that the researchers examined were set before the virus hit.

Since 2012, the cost of family coverage has increased 3% to 5% annually. It’s been more than 15 years since these costs were rising at double-digit rates.

Employers help shield workers from much of the cost of their health insurance premiums, though employees often feel the impact via higher deductibles, copayments and lower wages.

On average, workers pay 17% of the premium for single coverage and 27% for family