Auto insurance prices for the third year in a row are expected to rise this year, as insurers focus on helping their consumers make more money.
Auto insurance companies and some insurers have been under pressure to keep rates high, because consumers are worried about rising premiums next year.
A growing number of insurers are shifting away from policies that provide auto insurance in favor of cheaper policies that cover only certain types of vehicles, according to a survey released Wednesday by The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation.
Insurance companies have been grappling with how to make up the difference by offering more flexible policies and lowering premiums for consumers.
But some insurers said they are now adjusting their pricing plans, offering fewer expensive policies in the marketplaces.
Some insurers are also focusing on how to keep premiums high as they adjust to a new health care law that requires many Americans to have coverage.
The health care industry is in a new and complex time, said Paul Mankoff, a senior research fellow at the Kaiser Family Group.
The law requires insurers to offer plans that cover most or all of their customers, which is often the case for smaller businesses.
Some companies have offered policies that would cover only vehicles that were used in an accident, or those that were damaged.
Others have offered plans that exclude certain types or vehicles from coverage.
But insurers have struggled to make that work.
A majority of companies surveyed by The Post and the Kaiser said they had not adjusted their pricing for the new law, and the average rate has increased more than 7% for all insurers surveyed.
That is up from an average increase of about 4% last year, the survey found.
Insurance executives also have said that the federal government has not given them enough money to help them adjust to the new insurance system.
That has prompted insurers to make more aggressive plans to cover people who have a chronic condition, which increases premiums for people who do not have insurance but who will be healthier after the law takes effect.
“Insurers are seeing it is a little more challenging than they anticipated,” said Mike Guglielmi, the chief executive of Allstate, a major insurer in the U.S. and Canada.
“But I think it is going to improve over time.”
Allstate said its average rate for 2017 was $18,716 for a driver with a health condition that required the driver to be insured.
Allstate and Humana, two of the biggest insurers in the industry, are adjusting their prices to include more people who are healthy.
But there is still a wide gap between the premium plans offered by the two companies.
Humana’s average rate in the new marketplaces is $17,064, compared with $16,744 for Allstate.
All state plans are available only to people who purchase policies from a network of insurers.
The insurance companies that have decided to increase prices have been focused on helping people buy health insurance.
All of the companies that participated in the survey said they have seen a surge in calls from consumers asking for help paying for their auto insurance.
They also say the increase in rates is because the federal health care program that pays for insurance for millions of people was cut off.
“We’re seeing a lot of people who can’t afford their auto premium,” said Dan Schulman, Allstate’s chief financial officer.
“People are trying to find out how to get it paid for.”
The survey found that for some people, the rate increase is more noticeable.
The Kaiser survey found premiums for some drivers rose by about 4.5% for a person who had a chronic illness and a chronic disability.
The increase was more than 6% for those with cancer or heart disease.
The most expensive insurance plans were offered by American International Group Inc., Humana and Aetna Inc. In the most expensive plans, people with a chronic medical condition were expected to pay about $18 per month, or $6,300.
Aetneans plan would have a premium of about $17 per month.
The survey also found that people with high-risk health conditions were less likely to qualify for coverage because of higher premiums.
People with chronic diseases who are obese, diabetes and high blood pressure are more likely to pay more than those who are not, said Michael Osterholm, a professor of health economics at Georgetown University.
For those with certain chronic conditions, insurers will likely offer lower prices because they have to offer more expensive plans to make sure they don’t lose customers, Osterholms analysis showed.
But the majority of people are getting coverage at lower rates, Osters said.
The surveys also found consumers are more satisfied with their coverage than they were last year.
For example, an average of 38% of consumers said they were very satisfied with the coverage they were receiving.
Another 23% said they said they felt very satisfied and 18% said that they felt somewhat satisfied.
That was down from 37% last summer and 21% last fall.