ME – State Insurance Companies Want Double-Digit Rate Increases For 2018

July 2017 ~

Three Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurers in Maine are requesting rate increases for next year, citing political uncertainty and a higher percentage of unhealthy policyholders as reasons for their requests.

Harvard Pilgrim, Maine Community Health Options, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have asked the state Bureau of Insurance to approve double-digit rate increases for 2018. The average rate increase request for individual ACA insurance plans for 2018 are as follows:

  • Harvard Pilgrim 29.2%
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield 21.2%
  • Maine Community Health Options 19.7%

In a July 24 hearing at the state Bureau of Insurance office, Community Health said a series of new, lower-cost ACA insurance “silver” plans proposed by competitors Anthem BCBS could potentially lure away its members unless the nonprofit co-op is allowed to offer a comparable product line. Representatives of Community Health stated they were not expecting Anthem’s stripped-down silver plans to be accepted by regulators, but that they wanted a chance to make changes to their own offerings just in case.

However, State Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa said in a written ruling on July 25 that Community Health missed the deadline to adjust its 2018 rate request and the request was denied.

ACA insurance plans are ranked bronze, silver, gold or platinum based on the quality of coverage. Community Health President and CEO Kevin Lewis argued that one category of silver plans proposed by Anthem for 2018 is “a bronze-level plan that is masquerading as a silver-level plan,” stating the Anthem Silver X 5800 plans would be priced at 8% to 12% lower than Community Health’s least expensive silver plans,.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance is hosting a series of public hearings on the requests before a seven-member panel and Superintendent Cioppa is expected to decide on the request in mid-August.

 

Source(s): WGMEPortland Press Herald; Central Maine;