Individual rates for the benchmark second-lowest cost silver plan in 2019 will decline an average of 16 percent in
The open enrollment period for plans that take effect at the beginning of the year is
The Trump administration long has advocated for eliminating the Affordable Care Act, insisting that premiums are too high.
"While we are encouraged by this progress, we aren't satisfied. Even with this reduction, average rates are still too high. If we are going to truly offer affordable, high quality healthcare, ultimately the law needs to change," Verma said in a statement.
She spoke about eliminating the penalty for people who don't buy insurance and expanding access to short-term health plans, which are less expensive because they often do not cover certain benefits, such as maternity and mental-health care. Both measures were expected to reduce the number of people buying insurance through the exchanges, which analysts predicted could actually drive up prices.
Analysts have said the skimpier plans and penalty elimination could also lead to more people purchasing coverage that doesn't meet all their needs or skipping insurance entirely.
"Arguably, rates would be going down much more dramatically in 2019 if the Trump administration had not made the policy decisions it had made," said
Rather, the rate decrease for 2019 reflects a "recalibration" from the sharp increases of 2018. In anticipation of eliminating the individual mandate and expanding access to skimpier health plans, insurers secured a 37 percent increase nationally.
"A lot of insurers are saying, 'OK, they've thrown the worst they can at us and we've weathered the storm," Corlette said.
Income-based tax credits that help offset the cost of premiums have also helped stabilize the marketplace, she said.
Insurance carriers told
"Despite the federal government's intentional sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, the Murphy administration is doing everything possible in
Health plans sold through the online marketplace are labeled bronze, silver, gold or platinum. Bronze plans offer the lowest premiums with higher deductibles and cost-sharing, and platinum plans offer higher premiums and greater coverage.
The second-lowest silver plan -- a benchmark that regulators have used to compare marketplace plans -- will cost an average of
The estimates are for a 27-year-old nonsmoker. Rates are higher for older people and smokers because of their greater care needs.
"When we see increased competition, that's great. When we see decreases in rates, that's great, too. But folks need to look at the full picture of what goes into health insurance coverage," said
People shopping for insurance need to also consider the plan's deductible, co-insurance and co-payments, whether their doctors are in the plan's network, and how their medications are covered before concluding that the lowest-premium plan is really a bargain.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said that
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