Individuals who purchased individual health plans could see their premiums increase between 20% and 100% in January 2014 because of certain provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will take effect next year. Some insurance officials warn that the biggest increases would affect some of the estimated 14 million individuals with self-purchased benefits or who are employed by small businesses. Some of the provisions that could result in the premium rate increases include:

  • Changes to how insurers can base premium prices based on age or gender. America’s Health Insurance Plans projects that some premiums could increase by as much as 50%;
  • A premium tax that could increase premium prices by as much as 2.3% beginning in 2014, with higher rate increases in subsequent years; and
  • New requirements that insurers must cover more health care services or pay a greater share of patients’ medical bills.

In addition, some current individual health policies lack certain benefits, such as maternity care, that will become one of several essential health benefits under the ACA, which could increase premium prices.