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Family of four faces $25,000 in average annual unsubsidized ACA costs in 2019

Costs for two- and four-person families rose despite overall premiums being relatively flat compared to last year.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Average 2019 health insurance premiums are $1,403 per month for families of four who don't qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report released today by eHealth.

The 2019 Health Insurance Index Report analyzes costs and trends among unsubsidized consumers who purchased individual and family coverage for the 2019 plan year at eHealth during the ACA's most recent open enrollment period. eHealth, Inc. dba as eHealthInsurance, is a private online marketplace for health insurance.

The data and research is focused on ACA market consumers who earn too much per year to qualify for government subsidies that help to reduce what they spend on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The new report is based on individual and family health insurance applications submitted by unsubsidized eHealth consumers between November 1 and December 15, 2018.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

While overall premiums were relatively flat compared to the 2018 open enrollment period, costs for two- and four-person families hit a couple of new milestones.

The first is that total combined annual premiums plus deductibles for a four-person family topped $25,000 for 2019. The second is that average premiums for two-person families broke $1,000 per month for the first time this year.

Deductibles marked their first significant decline since 2014, when the ACA took effect. he average individual deductible decreased 6% for 2019, while the average family deductible decreased 8%.

Plan selection trends for 2019 show that HMO plans continue to dominate the market, representing 56% of all plan selections, the same as in 2018.

Meanwhile, exclusive provider organization, or EPO plans reach 26% of all plan selections, up from 20% in 2018; and silver plans reach 35% of all plan selections, up from 30% over last year.

THE LARGER TREND

An estimated 87% of Healthcare.gov customers received subsidies. Their premium cost after subsidies is $87 a month, according to the report. But costs borne by the unsubsidized are significantly greater. At eHealth during the fourth quarter of 2018, which included the ACA's 2019 open enrollment period, 64% of applications were for consumers purchasing ACA-compliant plans not eligible for use with subsidies.

Premiums for those with employer-sponsored health insurance plans have also been on the rise.

Between 2008 and 2018, such premiums increased 55 percent -- twice as fast as workers' earnings, according to a June report from Kaiser Family Foundation. And since 2006, the average health insurance deductible for covered workers soared by more than 200 percent -- from an inflation-adjusted average of $379 to more than $1,300 today.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com