A new analysis from the Department of Insurance confirms what has been reported since the Covered California exchange opened last October: Some people saw steep premium increases after the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
According to the department's analysis non-subsidy eligible individuals saw average increases ranging from 22 to 88 percent, depending on their age and where they lived. The review was done of all health plans -- including those managed for the Department of Managed Health Care -- and looked at premiums from California's four largest carriers, Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser, Blue Shield and Health Net.
The release appeared to be politically timed. Covered California's rates for next year are due on Thursday, and the rumble is that new premiums will show only modest increases.
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones say that's for one reason -- Proposition 45 coming on this November's ballot. The ballot measure would give the state's insurance commissioner the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes. Jones believes health insurers are keeping premiums lower than they would have otherwise without the threat of the proposition.
"I fully expect that the degree of those increases will be modest at best," Jones said, "because Proposition 45 is on the ballot, and they are very concerned about creating any sort of backlash from Californians."