Covered California enrollees will see premiums increase 4% in 2016, exchange officials said Monday.
The increase is actually slightly less than the 4.2% jump consumers experienced between 2014 and 2015.
The average increase in Southern California is 1.8%, for a total of $296 a month, compared to 7%, or a total of $384 a month, in Northern California, according to Covered California.
“Covered California is holding the line on rates and keeping coverage within reach of hundreds of thousands of consumers, while giving them more choices than ever before,” Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said in a statement.
Kevin Counihan, CEO of the Health Insurance Marketplaces echoed that sentiment in a statement and said he was pleased by the proposed 2016 rates.
The rate announcement comes two months after 44% of Covered California enrollees reported difficulty paying their monthly premiums, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.
Covered California had more than 1.3 million members who had active health insurance as of March 2015. The exchange is expected to have a total enrollment of 1.5 million in 2016.
The exchange also added two new insurance companies to the mix, including UnitedHealthcare and Oscar, a New York startup, bringing the total number of carriers to 12. Both plans were considered to have sizeable networks and innovative technological approaches to ensuring strong benefit packages, according to Anne Price, director of the Plan Management Division at Covered California.
The plan additions increase choices, especially for those living in remote living areas where some only had one plan choice last year, according to Lee. Now every resident will have the option of at least two plans, and those living in more populous areas will have at least five.
Having UnitedHealthcare as a plan will also give those living at the border of Nevada and Oregon the ability to cross state lines if they need. These individuals have had fewer provider choices and long drives to get care, Price said.