A recent study sponsored by the Society of Actuaries estimates that changes required by the 2010 Affordable Care Act could increase the amount paid by insurance companies for medical claims by an average of 31.5 percent by 2017. Such costs are the largest factor in determining health insurance premiums -- paid, of course, by consumers.
The projected rise reflects the millions of new people who will be required to buy health insurance and thus qualify for treatment. Because millions of those joining the ranks have pre-existing illnesses -- the law forbids insurers from turning down them down -- treatment costs will go up. The Obama administration says that the increase will be covered by the premiums paid into the system by millions of young, healthy workers also required to join the insured pool.
Notably, the study found that the projected rise in claim costs differs greatly by state. The first five states cited in this list, most of which have already enacted changes similar to those mandated in the ACA, will experience cost decreases under the new system. On the other hand, as many as 43 states are expected to experience double-digit increases in costs. We also look at the five states with the highest projected increases and their efforts to bring those costs down.
(Estimates assume every state will expand its Medicaid program, as the Affordable Care Act suggests, though one of those cited has indicated its intention not to do so. The full Society of Actuaries report is here. They have also prepared this infographic breaking down the data by state.)