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While we don’t yet know the full financial long-term impact of COVID-19, we do know that the pandemic upended the health care industry and will likely continue to cause premium rate shifts. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As the health insurance rate-setting season approaches, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “how will COVID-19 impact health premium rates in 2022?” While the full financial impact of COVID-19 is not yet known, it is expected that the ramifications of the pandemic will be experienced for years to come. Based on this, there are several key factors in evaluating health insurance rates for next year.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that insurers are required to develop next year’s rates based on next year’s expected costs only. Past losses are not allowed to be included in prospective premium rates if those costs are not expected to persist. Although the bulk of the pandemic seems to be behind us (2021 costs), people are still getting sick. Therefore, the health costs of fighting the virus will likely put upward pressure on 2022 rates.

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