With less than a week until the federally run exchanges in over a 30 states are set to open, we are finally starting to get our first look at what the premiums will be. The HHS has put out some selective data on average cost and what a young 27 year old will pay. That is the group most likely to see premium increases.

Some of the key findings are:

  • At least 95 percent of consumers will have a choice of two or more insures.
  • Roughly a quarter of insurers will be offering insurance in the individual market for the first time.
  • Exchanges with more insurers tended to have slightly lower premiums, 8 issuers participating in the Marketplace in the states with average premiums in the lowest quartile, compared to an average of 3 issuers in states with average premiums in the highest quartile.
  • In the federally run exchanges the average premium for the second lowest silver plan will be $214 a month for a person 27 years old. That is before tax credits.
  • Across the entire country the weighted average premium second lowest silver plan will be $328 a month for everyone. Many people using the exchanges will qualify for tax credits.

The HHS is extremely happy the premiums are lower than some old CBO estimates but that is a silly metric to judge by. More PR than policy.

It is important to note that no one really knows how many people and which type of people will sign up. These premiums are also simply based on insurers best guesses. After this first year when companies have real data we could see some significant changes in premiums in either direction. 2015 not 2014 will be the real test from a policy perspective.