Some State Insurance Regulators OK Double-Digit Premium Increases
Some state insurance commissioners have approved double-digit premium hikes for their states' largest health plans in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports.
- BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee received approval for a 36.3% rate increase;
- Moda Health Plan in Oregon has been approved to increase rates by an average of 25.6%;
- Kentucky Health Cooperative received approval to increase rates by 25.1%; and
- Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service has been approved to increase rates by an average of 23%.
Commissioners Weigh In
According to the Journal, many insurers offered low premiums during the first two years of open enrollment through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges as a way to attract new business.
Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak said she approved BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's rate increase to help cover higher-than-expected claims from the first two years of open enrollment under the ACA. Still, she said she had hoped the rate increase would be lower because she knows "what it means to consumers."
Meanwhile, Dean Cameron, Idaho's insurance director, called the steep increases requested by some plans disappointing but "not unreasonable."
Some States See Modest Increases
Not all consumers will experience such steep increases, and some states have not yet finalized their rate decisions, the Journal reports.
- Anthem in Indiana was granted an average increase of 3.8%;
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Arkansas was granted an average increase of 7.15%; and
- Anthem in Virginia was granted an 8.6% increase, after requesting a 13.2% premium hike.
According to the Journal, some of the states with modest increases had insurers that offered plans with higher premiums to start. Others had stronger enrollment under the ACA.
Further, premiums can vary state to state for several other reasons, including regional differences in the costs of care (Radnofsky/Armour, Wall Street Journal, 8/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.