According to a new analysis, the cost of health insurance policies sold on Obamacare marketplaces has decreased for the third year in a row.
In addition to the decline in premiums since the cost increase in 2018, according to a. now more insurers are participating in the marketplaces Urban Institute report, a left-wing think tank based in Washington, DC
The authors examined guidelines with similar benefits in the 15 states that did operate their own marketplaces and the 36 states that are at least partially dependent on the federal market. The premiums fell by an average of 1.2% from 2018 to 2019, by 3.2% from 2019 to 2018 and by 1.7% from 2020 to 2021. This is in contrast to a huge increase of nearly 32% from 2017 to 2018, which the authors largely attributed to guidelines from the Trump administration designed to undercut the Affordable Care Act.
Prices in Obamacare marketplaces fell, although health insurance premiums rose overall.
“This decline is remarkable because it contrasts with premium increases in the employer-funded insurance market over the same period,” the report said. Rewards in employer-sponsored plans rose 3.9% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020. (According to the authors, data on the rates in 2021 are not yet available.)
Obamacare’s premiums varied significantly by state because the states have different insurance laws, demographics, and the number of competing insurance companies. Market premiums in Iowa fell 31% in 2021, the largest decline in any state that year. In Arkansas they rose nearly 6%, which is the largest increase.
The number of insurance carriers participating in the marketplaces increased by 50% between 2018 and 2021, leading to more competition and better prices, according to the authors.
The authors attribute the sharp rise in premiums in 2018 to the decision of the Trump administration to stop paying insurance carriers in order to reduce certain expenses for policyholders with lower incomes. Insurers reacted to the loss of these payments with premium increases.
Another reason for the large premium hike this year, according to the authors, was insurers’ uncertainty about the impact of Congress abolishing the penalty for people who had not signed up for health insurance in 2019.