Washington State: Final 2015 WEIGHTED rate increase only 2.7%

I haven't done these average-rate-increase posts in a while, but this one came across my screen today so I figured I should post about it.

Back in August, Washington State announced that they had final approved rates on the 90 plans being offered on the WA exchange, with an average increase of 1.9%. However, I didn't know what the market share breakdown was at the time, so I couldn't tell whether that was weighted or not.

Well, today they've issued a more comprehensive press release, covering both on- and off-exchange policies (230 total: 90 on the exchange, 140 off of it). The unweighted overall average increase is a mere 1.5%:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Individuals and families looking for health insurance this fall have 15 insurers and 230 health plans to choose from, starting Nov. 15.

The average approved rate change was 1.5 percent. Originally, the insurers requested an average 8.3 percent increase, but it was lowered after a review by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

“The number of choices consumers have this year is evidence that Washington state’s individual market is thriving under health care reform,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “We have more health plans than ever and the lowest rate average rate change in seven years.”

Earlier this year, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner approved 90 health plans from 10 insurers for sale in Washington’s Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder. Another 140 health plans were recently approved from 10 insurers for sale in the individual market outside of the Exchange.

This is indeed great news. However, I do have the actual market share breakdown of the 90 exchange-based policies (as of the end of June, anyway), so I ran the numbers and came up with the following:

  • Bridgespan: 1.87% x (-2.9%) = (-0.05423)
  • Community: 1.91% x 0 = 0
  • Coordinated: 17.09% x 7.2% = 1.23048
  • Group Health: 16.18% x 0 = 0
  • Kaiser Permanente: 1.84% x 0 = 0
  • LifeWise: 14.06% x 2.3% = 0.32338
  • Molina: 1.21% x 0 = 0
  • Permera: 45.84% x 2.6% = 1.19184

TOTAL: 2.69% weighted average exchange-based premium increase

That's still pretty darned good to me.