Many people living in South Florida are concerned about their financial stability in light of the impending 2024 health insurance price increases.
Experts estimate a 5-20% increase in premiums for employer-provided health insurance during open enrollment this autumn for coverage to begin the following year. High inflation, rising healthcare expenditures, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 epidemic are all contributing to the substantial rises.
Many businesses in South Florida that offer their workers private health insurance may have to increase premiums significantly starting in 2024. According to CEO Chad Van Horn, Van Horn Law Group has seen annual premium increases of 10% to 15% from its supplier over the past few years. The firm employs 30 individuals and focuses mostly on bankruptcy cases.
Business has been good, but even with the rise, Van Horn says the company can’t afford to keep up with the rising cost of health insurance. Van Horn Law Group currently contributes 50% of employees’ premiums, however the anticipated increase for next year may require them to reduce this amount.
According to Van Horn, “Wages are going up but it’s not keeping pace,” meaning that the company will not be able to afford the increased insurance expenses.
Rate increases for privately purchased health insurance are also anticipated, though their exact magnitude is unknown. Cost increases for next year’s coverage will be revealed in October, when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s federal exchange begins for Floridians.
Van Horn Law Group employee LaVerne Wallace was shelling out roughly $500 monthly for health insurance. In April, she made the change to an Affordable Care Act plan that would save her around $200 per month in premium costs. Wallace, however, immediately discovered that few local doctors accepted her new insurance.
Wallace said, “It was difficult to find doctors who would take it.” And my primary care doctor has left me.
Some businesses in South Florida are already looking into ways to help their employees cope with the rising cost of health insurance, which is only expected to rise even further in the year 2024. Van Horn has stated that in order to help employees with premium costs, the company is considering increasing the employer contribution, providing subsidies, or negotiating group discounts.
However, experts predict that medical inflation and rising medical costs would significantly outstrip salaries in 2019. As a result, the monthly premium contributions of many workers in South Florida who get their insurance through their jobs may increase significantly as their companies shift more of the cost to them. The rise in premiums might make health insurance expensive for low-income individuals like Wallace who purchase coverage on their own.
Dr. Tyler Evans, a healthcare policy expert and economist from the University of Miami, stated that healthcare prices have been increasing at a rate of 5-10% yearly over the previous decade. But inflation is currently at 8% this year, so hikes of 15% to 20% in 2024 are not out of the question.
Groups representing insurers like Florida Blue say they are taking steps to slow premium increases, but they also predict that prices will rise substantially in the coming year. They attribute the meteoric increase in insurance premiums primarily to the fee hikes implemented by medical facilities and pharmaceutical firms.
However, some who push for better health care say that insurers’ inordinate concentration on profits is also to blame for the dramatic increase in premiums in recent years. In order to improve competition and decrease prices, they advocate for reforms to extend coverage, such as a public insurance option.
Meanwhile, Floridians like Wallace will have to make tough decisions in the near future. Inflation and other costs on top of higher insurance premiums will put a strain on family budgets. However, the consequences of not having health insurance, or having inadequate coverage, might be considerably more severe.
Individuals and businesses in the region will be waiting with bated breath until open enrollment begins to learn how much health insurance premiums will increase in 2024. Many people will have to forego other priorities or take on extra debt to pay for emergency medical care.