In a new report from Moody's Investors Service, the company examines what current trends may mean for health insurers and their future participation on the Affordable Care Act health exchanges.
Over the last several years, medical utilization has increased at a lower rate than anticipated, due to a combination of insurance plans requiring higher out-of-pocket costs for individuals and more robust managed care initiatives, the Healthcare Quarterly report notes in its section on health insurers. Still, healthcare spending increased 5.3 percent in 2014 compared to 2.9 percent in 2013. This is largely due to the millions of previously uninsured Americans who have signed up for health coverage for the first time under the ACA, primarily through Medicaid.
So far, insurers have been able to sufficiently increase premiums for their commercial business to cover the increasing medical costs, the report says, but "individual health insurance policies sold on the public exchanges will remain problematic as enrollment stagnates and insurers increase premiums while continuing to report losses." Report (Subscription required)