New research shows larger health insurers increase rates higher on ACA-mandated state exchanges

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Does size matter when it comes to health insurance rates?

In the latest research published August 11 in the first issue of Technology Science from Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, two Harvard student researchers, Eugene Wang and Grace Gee, find that the largest insurers in each state have raised premiums far more under Obamacare than smaller insurers, even though their costs have not risen more sharply than others.

The largest insurers differ by state and include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Anthem, and Humana. On average, the big guys raised rates from 2014 to 2015 by nearly 24 percent, while the lesser known, smaller insurers raised rates less than 14 percent. That means the largest companies in each state under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) raised premiums an average of 75 percent higher compared to the smaller insurance companies.

The study results raise questions as to whether the many mergers among insurers result in efficiencies and savings passed onto the consumers, or instead facilitate anti-competitive practices that require the public to pay more.