Covered CA projects large hike in 2017 health premiums

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Covered California announced projected average rate increases of 13.2 percent for health insurance bought next year through the state-run system, as consumers were urged to “shop around” to avoid large premium hikes.

Covered California executive director Peter Lee said there are multiple reasons for the increase: hikes in specialty drug costs, an expected loss of federal aid to insurance companies and “sicker people” enrolling in two of the state’s biggest providers during the off-season special enrollment period.

Lee said the premium hikes are not due to health insurer profits. “We kicked the tires hard. … This isn’t about health plans making big buckets of money. It’s about rising costs of health care.”

Rate hikes for Covered California policies in the last two years came to about 4 percent, putting the three-year average at 7 percent. Lee noted that 90 percent of Californians will still be eligible for federal subsidies to help cover their Covered California premium costs.

Lee noted that the average increase varies widely by …