Prices Are Up, Benefits Are Down for Mass. Health Insurance

A new report highlights trends in health insurance in Massachusetts.

The health insurance that you get through your employer costs you more and offers less. Between 2009 and 2011, premiums rose by 9.7 percent in order to pay for benefits that actually decreased by 5 percent. Deductibles rose 40 percent.

The Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA), an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts created by the 2012 Massachusetts health care reform law, released their annual report Wednesday. The report examines the state’s health care market trends between 2009 and 2011, including the above statistics and things like changes in premiums, benefits, spending and retention, and market concentration.

The report also found that more than two-thirds of insurance coverage in the state is through the big boys. During the years studied, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare, and Tufts Health Plan made up nearly 80 percent of the commercial payer market. BCBS alone accounts for 45 percent.

“CHIA’s mission is to monitor the Massachusetts health care system and to provide reliable information and meaningful analysis for those seeking to improve health care quality, affordability, access, and outcomes,” said Executive Director of CHIA Áron Boros in a press release. “This report marks the latest step in achieving that mission, increasing transparency in our health care system and empowering policymakers and regulators to make the best data-driven decisions possible.”

CHIA will present their findings on Tuesday, October 1 and Wednesday, October 2, at 9 a.m. at the UMass Boston Campus Center at the Health Policy Commission’s annual hearing to look for ways to curb increases in health care costs for residents and employers. To read the entire report, click here.