SUMMARY:In 2014 the premiums for state exchange based health plans are comparable to — and in some cases lower than — those being offered by employers. The data suggest the new exchanges are competitive with the current insurance market and may open doors for employers as they contemplate future benefits strategies.” Health insurance premiums: Comparing ACA exchange rates to the employer-based market.



This report by Price Waterhouse Coopers, released Jan. 31, 2014, found that the median rate of ACA plans that offer coverage comparable to employer-offered plans is $5,844 annually.

That’s 4 percent less than the $6,119 for the average cost of an employer-provided plan of comparable benefits coverage, the report found.

The report surveyed gold and platinum plans, because they are roughly comparable to employer-sponsored plans. It did note that the exchange plans tend to have narrower networks, though.

Why is this important? Because employers might decide they can not only save money by sending workers to the exchanges, they can also save time and energy in their human resources departments. The tax advantages of keeping the employer-sponsored plans on the books may start to look less attractive.

It’s also important because in advance of the Affordable Care Act, there were a lot of predictions that rates would be sky-high. In fact, in some places where there are fewer providers, rates are indeed high. But that’s not true everywhere, and for every plan.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...