The U.S. inflation rate rose to 9.1% in June, and it appears that next year, healthcare premiums will follow a similar upward trajectory.
According to KFF.org, a website which tracks health insurance statistics and demographics in all 50 states, employer-sponsored healthcare premiums could see a significant jump in 2023 — as high as 50% above the 2022 pricing models.
KFF breaks down insurance benefits in six primary categories: Employer, Non-group, Medicaid, Medicare, Military and Uninsured.
In an Axios piece regarding this subject matter, Randa Deaton, vice president of purchaser engagement for the Purchaser Business Group on Health, said it's too early to nail down specific price hikes for 2023.
However, American companies should braalsce for an uptick with expenditures.
"Even in the fall, we were hearing concerns around 2023 with rate increases ranging from 10% to 12%. And we have a member who just [saw] a 12% increase in their premiums," said Deaton. "Our expectations are the prices are going to significantly increase."
Last month, CNBC got the ball rolling on prospective price bumps with healthcare premiums, speculating that 13 million people could be greatly affected by the increases — unless Congress expands the subsidies for marketplace coverage.
Along those lines, TheStreet.com recently wrote the "primary problem is a wrinkle in the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, which temporarily removed the income cap for eligibility for U.S. government subsidies for 2021 and 2022."
CNBC also addressed one hypothetical example two weeks ago, based on a report from the Congressional Budget Office:
"Say a 64-year-old with $58,000 in income — about 430% of the 2022 poverty level of $13,590 — has insurance through the exchange," wrote CNBC. "The 8.5% limit currently in place means they would pay no more than $4,950 for premiums this year. However, if faced with a 400% cap on eligibility in 2023, that same person would pay $12,900 for premiums because they'd no longer qualify for subsidies."
Here's another piece of reasoning, courtesy of Courtney Stubblefield, insights and solutions leader for health and benefits at WTW.
"As some insurers and providers open up their contracts ... there's concerns some of those unit price increases could be 10%-plus and some of that could be providers wanting to recoup a little bit of lost revenue from during the pandemic," Stubblefied recently told Axios.
And in her interview with Axios, Deaton alluded to how healthcare visits have exploded over the last 12 months, since a lot of Americans deferred doctor appointments during the pandemic period of 2020 and parts of 2021.
From the consumers' standpoint, it also doesn't help that healthcare organizations are consolidating resources in greater numbers today, while being less-than-transparent about certain price increases.
"The reality is healthcare pricing is rarely based on the cost of the service. It's based on what the market can bear," says Deaton.
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