Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums Mostly Stay Steady for 2022
In recent months, the main economic story in America has been inflation. Two weeks ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ October Consumer Price Index showed prices increasing by 6.2% over the past 12 months, marking the largest yearly increase since 1990. Yet, despite prices climbing on a number of everyday items, it looks as though health insurance premiums purchased on state and federal marketplaces will remain relatively unchanged from 2021.
According to a new analysis from ValuePenguin, the national average for health insurance premiums will stay virtually unchanged for 2022. This puts the average monthly premium payment at $541 and the average annual cost at $6,487. Looking more closely, the various tiers of plans have seen some adjustments, with Platinum Tier (the top tier) plans down an average of 4.35% while Bronze Tier plans increased 2.47% and Expanded Bronze Tier plans were up 3.21%. Catastrophic, Silver, and Gold Tier plans all moved less than 1% from their 2021 averages.
Of course, while that $541 figure is the national average, there are several states well above or below that figure For example, in West Virginia and South Dakota, the average premiums are more than 50% higher than they are nationally, coming in at to $831 and $811 a month respectively. What’s more, those average prices are up 23% in South Dakota and 19% in West Virginia for 2022. On the other hand, those in Georgia enjoy prices more than 42% below the nationwide number, averaging just $309 a month. That also happens to be down 41% from 2021’s average, which is far and away the biggest year-over-year drop seen in any state. Other states far off the average include Wyoming (+41%), Vermont (+40%), Louisiana (+34%), New Hampshire (-33%), Maryland (-32%), Minnesota (-28%), and Colorado (-24%).
Commenting on ValuePenguin’s findings, the site’s Health Insurance expert Robin Townsend stated, “Nationally, the cost of full-price Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans rose by less than 1% for 2022. For states with larger rate increases, insurers cite an overall jump in health care costs, including prescription drug prices, as drivers. Townsend continued, “Other factors mentioned by insurers include the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with an increase in vaccine administration and the impact of the delta variant prompting higher rates in 2022.”
Even though the situation varies in many of these United States, the good news is that average 2022 ACA health insurance premiums are largely in line with 2021 rates. On that note, HealthCare.gov’s open enrollment period is now underway, accepting applications through December 15th for coverage starting January 1st — although those with qualifying events can apply throughout the year. Therefore, those who don’t have insurance through an employer should be sure to explore their coverage options before that deadline.