Insurers' 2016 rates will remain unknown for months

Although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published insurers' rate increase requests, many of which are more than 10 percent, it's unclear whether rates will actually be significantly higher next year because the data remains incomplete, reported CNBC.

That's largely because the published information doesn't include plans that proposed small increases or even decreases in their rates. Plus, rate increases from insurers operating in two of the biggest states in the country, California and New York, are missing from the data. 

"Analyzing this is like trying to gauge the average height of Americans by looking at only NBA players," Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC

The extreme rate increases have caught media attention, including Health Care Service Corp.'s 51.6 percent proposed rate hike in New Mexico and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's request for a 36 percent average premium increase, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

But Levitt believes these larger increases will be "balanced out" by "insurers who are not increasing premiums by that much." And CMS agrees, noting in a statement that "insurance companies project that most people will be enrolled with proposed rate increases of less than 10 percent."

Then there's the King v. Burwell case. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling could force insurers to dramatically raise average premium costs, which could then cause healthy enrollees to drop out of the market.

To learn more:
- read the CNBC article
- here's the CMS statement and rate review data