Arkansas: 2015 Premium Rates confirmed to DROP by 2% WEIGHTED avg

A few days ago, David Ramsey of the Arkansas Times reported about a leaked document with the proposed & approved private QHP premium rate changes for 2015. At the time, he calculated the weighted average of the approved rates to be a drop of around 3.5% overall.

Today he reports that the official rate approvals have now come out, and while there was a slight error in the original numbers, the final weighted average is still excellent news: An overall weighted drop of 2%:

Insurance companies have proposed a net reduction in premiums of 2 percent next year for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, the health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. The Marketplace includes all of the plans used for the private option, the state's unique plan which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans.

That "private Medicaid option" factor is important as well, because...

...Private option beneficiaries make up more than three quarters of the total number of consumers on the Marketplace and the private option is likely contributing to a healthier pool of people and lower premiums (see here for more details). Lower-than-expected premiums also represent extremely good news for the sustainability of the policy: the lower the premiums, the lower the costs for the private option next year. This also potentially even represents a signal that private option costs this year will be revised downward (see here for more details). 

And the good news doesn't end there...

It's worth noting that lower premiums don't just reduce the cost of private option beneficiaries. Any Arkansans shopping for individual health insurance on the Marketplace stand to benefit. Lower premiums for non-private option customers also save the federal government money via lowering the cost of Obamacare subsidies for moderate-income people purchasing insurance.