California individual insurance rates to increase 0.8%

California
Gavin Newsom

FILE – In this May 9, 2019, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom gestures towards a chart with proposed funding to deal with the state’s homelessness as he discusses his revised state budget during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. California lawmakers are scheduled to vote Thursday, June 13, 2019, on a $214.8 billion operating budget, sending the plan to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk with a focus on expanding access to health insurance while spending billions of new money on homelessness and housing. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Health insurance rates in California’s individual market will increase an average of 0.8% in 2020, the lowest increase in five years.

State officials announced the new rates on Tuesday, which still must be approved by state regulators.

Annual increases have averaged nearly 8% since 2014, when California began offering health insurance plans to individuals through a state-run marketplace in 2014 as part of former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Rates jumped last year after Republicans in Congress eliminated the nationwide tax on people who refuse to purchase health insurance.

State lawmakers voted last month to bring the tax back to California in 2020.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee says that decision helped keep the increases lower.

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