Affordable, quality health care. For everyone.

What's Behind Health Insurance Rate Increases? An Examination of What Insurers Reported to the Federal Government in 2012–2013

doctor patient health care


The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to justify rate increases of 10 percent or more for nongrandfathered plans in the individual and small-group markets. Analyzing these filings for rates taking effect from mid-2012 through mid-2013, insurers attributed the great bulk—three-quarters or more—of these larger rate

IMPORTED: www_commonwealthfund_org____media_images_publications_infographics_view_premium_spikes_rising_costs_360x260_h_260_w_360.jpg
increases to routine factors such as trends in medical costs. Insurers attributed only a very small portion of these medical cost trends to factors related to the Affordable Care Act. The ACA-related factor mentioned most often, but only in a third of the rate filings in this study, was the requirement to cover women’s preventive and contraceptive services without patient cost-sharing. But, the insurers who point to this requirement or other ACA-related costs attributed only about 1 percentage point of their rate increases to the health reform law.

Publication Details

Publication Date: December 19, 2013
Summary Writer: Deborah Lorber

M. J. McCue and M. A. Hall, What's Behind Health Insurance Rate Increases?, The Commonwealth Fund, December 2013. 


R. Timothy Stack Professor, Department of Health Administration, School of Allied Health Professions at Virginia Commonwealth University
Fred D. & Elizabeth L. Turnage Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law