In the first full year under the federal Affordable Care Act, California led the nation – embracing the new law eagerly, implementing it quickly, and providing relatively robust choice with low premiums through a web site that, most of the time, actually worked.
There was nothing in Thursday’s announcement about the early stages of Year 2 that suggests the state’s position as a poster child for the law is about to change any time soon.
Covered California, the new state agency created to run the program here, announced that ten insurance companies have signed on to offer plans next year, and rates in 2015 will increase an average of 4.2 percent, a modest price hike by health insurance industry standards. And because 90 percent of consumers who have bought insurance through the program receive federal tax credits to reduce their cost, the actual increase will likely be smaller for most of them. Some people might even pay less in 2015 than they do today.