Premiums for Plans Are Lower for Third Consecutive Year

“Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report showing the trend of lower premiums and increased issuer participation for will continue for 2021 year. The average premium for the second lowest cost silver plan (also called the benchmark plan) dropped by 2% for the 2021 coverage year and, when looking at states that are using in both 2020 and 2021, 22 more issuers will offer coverage in 2021, for a total of 181 issuers delivering more choice and competition for consumers.

[..] Three years of declining average benchmark plan premiums combine to deliver an 8% premium reduction across since the 2018 coverage year. Looking at the coming year, four states will see double-digit decreases in the average benchmark plan premiums for 27 year olds, including Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and Wyoming. For two of these states – Maine and New Hampshire – CMS has used its authority to approve State Innovation Waivers under Section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to establish state-based reinsurance programs, contributing to the decline in premiums.

[..] the portion of counties with only a single issuer dropped from 50% in 2018 to 24% in 2020 and will drop further to 9% in 2021. For 2021, there will be 288 counties nationwide with a single issuer offering plans through the Exchange, down over 80% from a high of 1,582 counties with a single health insurance issuer offering plans through the Exchange in 2018.

[..] average premiums are still significantly higher than when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was first implemented and affordability remains a significant challenge for people who do not qualify for a premium tax credit and must pay the entire premium themselves. The average benchmark plan premium for a typical family of four has increased from $794 in 2014 – the first year the ACA’s main requirements were introduced – to $1,486 in 2021. As premiums increase, a recent report by CMS on enrollment among people with and without subsidies documents how unsubsidized enrollment continues to decline, suggesting middle income Americans continue to struggle to afford coverage.”

Press release, CMS Newsroom 2020.10.19