Average Increase of 4% in 2016 Covered California Rates

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On July 27, 2015, Covered California announced its preliminary rates for 2016 coverage.  While the average increase across the state is a modest 4%, there is notable variation between Northern and Southern California.

Counties in Southern California account for 55% of Covered California enrollment and will have an average rate increase of only 1.8%.  Northern California counties, on the other hand, account for 45% of enrollment and will have an average increase of 7%.  But there is significant variation in increases even among Northern counties.  For example:

  • San Francisco County – 3.4 percent
  • Alameda County – 6.3 percent
  • Santa Clara County – 7 percent
  • Greater Sacramento – 8.2 percent
  • Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz Counties – 12.8 percent

The underlying cause for the differences is largely due to greater consolidation among doctors and hospitals in Northern California versus Southern California where there is more competition between health plans and hospitals.

Covered California also announced two additional carriers will be offering coverage to selected regions in 2016 – UnitedHealthcare and Oscar Health Plan of California.  The addition brings the total number of carriers offering plans through Covered California to 12.