Virginia insurers propose modest premium hikes

Health insurance companies in Virginia are proposing to raise premiums for 2015, but not by the dramatic margins predicted by some critics.

The proposed rate hikes range from 3.3 percent from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan to 14.9 percent for a plan offered by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, according to official filings.

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Rates for individual policies must be approved by Virginia state regulators before they take effect.

First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the proposed increases shed light on what some consumers can expect now that the healthcare law is in full effect.

One plan offered by Anthem HealthKeepers proposed a 8.5 percent increase for individual policyholders in Virginia. The health plan is available on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace.

Premiums rise each year for a variety of reasons, but some insurers have suggested that their increases will be higher in 2015 because of changes brought by ObamaCare. This does not appear to be the case for Virginia.

Many trends influence prices, including whether insurers met their own enrollment targets. Experts say rate hikes will vary around the country for this reason.

But certain states like West Virginia and Hawaii will have more trouble than others. In general, states with older, sicker enrollees or less competition among insurers will have larger premium hikes.

Virginia's rate filings were the first made public for 2015. In most states, insurance actuaries are still working to determine prices for next year. 

—This story was updated Tuesday at 2:50 p.m.