Year-to-Year Variation in Small-Group Health Insurance Premiums

Double-Digit Annual Increases Have Been Common Over the Past Decade

Insurance carriers, state departments of insurance and Marketplaces are beginning to gear up for the 2015 plan year open enrollment period, which will begin in mid-November.

There is considerable fluctuation in small group insurance premiums year-to-year. The state-by-state analysis, prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute, illustrates that since 2000, double-digit premium increases in the small group market are common.

However, the researchers show that these large increases are typically tempered by much smaller increases, or even decreases, in premium costs the following year. The researchers caution that the soon-to-be announced 2015 premiums should be placed in this context.

Key Findings

  • Nationally, premiums for the average small group insurance plan increased 5.5% annually between 2000 and 2013.

  • Thirty four states saw average annual increases of 10% or more for employers with fewer than 10 employees at least one third of the years since 2000.

  • Thirty one states saw average annual increases of 10% or more for employers with 10 to 24 employees at least one third of the years since 2000.

  • Thirty two states saw average annual increases of 10% or more for employers with 25 to 99 employees at least one third of the years since 2000.

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