When Does My Health Insurance Premium Go Up?

Everyone knows that health insurance premiums go up every year as the price of healthcare rises. But when does that happen?

With most plans and insurance companies, your initial premium will be locked (unchanged) for 12 months. There are exceptions. Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, for instance, puts their annual premium increase into effect for all of their individual members on November 1 of each year, regardless of when they purchased coverage (that is not the case for group clients). Some carriers (including Blue Cross of SC) also increase your rate when you hit a new age category (i.e. when you turn 40 or 50).

Some carriers (such as UnitedHealthOne and Assurant Health) offer individual health insurance applicants the option of a 24 month or even a 36 month rate guarantee. Obviously, this means that the premium the first year will be higher. We have typically not encouraged clients to take the longer rate guarantee, but in the current climate that might be a very good idea. It is extremely likely that the current healthcare reform proposals in Washington will result in much higher health insurance premiums for most people (especially younger people) due to new taxes and much heavier government mandates. So at present a longer rate guarantee bears consideration – again, this is especially true for younger clients.

When you are notified of your plan renewal (a nice way of describing the notice you’ll get about your impending rate increase), take a few minutes to shop around and compare your options. As always, AC Forrest is happy to show you some other options and compare them with your current coverage.