Last week, Covered California announced that the tentative, average renewal increase for individual plans sold through the state-based public exchange will be 4.2 percent in 2015.

This is great news for enrollees and employers. While the announced increase is not for employer-based plans, the early indicators are that we'll also see lower-than-expected renewals in the employer insurance market. The same market forces that shaped the individual rates will similarly impact group plans, albeit, not as directly as they shaped the exchange plans. After about a decade and a half of renewals that were two to three times as high as the consumer price index, hearing about a 4.2 percent average increase provides long-awaited relief for the battered and the weary.

Clearly, everybody wants to know if this moderation in rate increases is due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or "Obamacare") and whether it will last. In short, yes, this is certainly at least partially a result of PPACA. And no, this will not be the new normal in health insurance renewals.

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