Pennsylvania on Thursday approved a 2.3 percent average decrease for Obamacare rates for 2019, the latest sign that Obamacare's insurance exchanges are stabilizing across the country after massive rate hikes for 2018.
The state’s insurance regulator also announced that a new carrier would enter the Obamacare exchange in 2019, bringing the total statewide to six. People in 30 of the state’s 67 counties will see more insurer participation, the state added. The data is roughly in line with an estimate from the Trump administration that showed the average premium for Obamacare will decrease by 1.5 percent.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said that the rate decrease was due to work from his state to counteract regulations and directives from the Trump administration that undermine Obamacare.
“Despite the Trump Administration’s numerous efforts to undermine the ACA and discourage consumers from signing up, including cutting the open enrollment period in half, decimating funding for marketing the ACA to the public and funding for navigators, the Insurance Department has brought consumers choice and is working tirelessly to achieve affordability,” Wolf said in a statement.
Premiums are likely going to be much lower for consumers in Obamacare for 2019 compared to 2018. Obamacare's exchanges reside in the individual market, which is used by people who do not get insurance from a job or the government.
The average premium for Obamacare’s exchanges is expected to drop by 1.5 percent in 2019, the first such decline since the exchanges went online in 2014, according to the Trump administration.
Some experts say that the reason for the modest rate hikes and declines in 2019 is because insurers raised prices too much for 2018 to overcome uncertainty created by the Trump administration. Other experts say that insurers have found ways to make money in Obamacare’s exchanges, which has brought some insurers back.