MOOP

A couple of weeks ago I noted that all 11 California health insurance carriers participating on the state's ACA exchange, CoveredCA.com, have agreed not to reset deductibles for current off-exchange enrollees who shift to an on-exchange plan during the ongoing COVID Enrollment Period.

This is a HUGE deal, especially in California, where an estimated 430,000 residents are enrolled in off-exchange ACA policies which are virtually identical to their on-exchange equivalent, with the sole distinction of those enrolled in them not being eligible for ACA subsidies.

With subsidies being beefed up and the 400% FPL subsidy cliff having been killed (for the next 2 years, at least), this means that hundreds of thousands of Californians have just become eligible for thousands of dollars in savings...as long as they transition to the same plan on-exchange.

(MOOP: Maximum Out-of-Pocket expense; please forgive my Seinfeld reference.)

When it comes to healthcare policy cost trends, my main focus has been on the average premium rate increases, which currently look (if approved as requested) like they'll go up around 22% on average next year on the individual market (perhaps half that for the small group market).

However, the other major cause of hand-wringing when it comes to healthcare costs these days are deductibles and co-pays...the out-of-pocket expenses which people may have to pay in addition to their premiums. Again, co-pays are a flat fee (usually $30-$50) which you have to pay for many doctor visits, while deductibles are the amount which you may have to pay towards various healthcare treatments/services before the insurance carrier actually starts to chip in their 60-90% of the bill. I don't think co-pays have really changed much over the years, but a whole lot of people feel that deductibles have shot up a lot since the ACA went into effect.