Coverage Creep: The Health Insurance Rate Outlook for 2016

Coverage Creep: The Health Insurance Rate Outlook for 2016

It might only be June, but forecasts already predict some pretty pricey health insurance hikes for the New Year.

The proposed rate increases come as health insurers face several unexpectedly steep costs—namely, a higher share of new customers thanks to federally mandated coverage expansion and rising prescription drugs prices.

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As a result, both individual plans sold through brokers and agents, as well as those sold under the Affordable Care Act, could see premium increases of more than 10%.

And that doesn't even account for outliers like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, where premiums could skyrocket by 26%.

But before you start worrying about how this might affect you, know that these figures are still preliminary and must be submitted to state or federal government to review, at which point they could be softened or rejected entirely.

After going through review, new premium rate proposals will be finalized by late summer and communicated by early October—giving consumers a couple weeks to research how any increases could affect their budgets ahead of the November 1 open enrollment date.

One bright spot is that these rates will only affect individual health insurance policies, which are a small part of the market, given that most Americans get their insurance through employers.

If you're already on the ball and thinking about next year's enrollment, brush up on these common health insurance coverage terms everyone should know.

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