Premium increases being finalized as open enrollment nears

As open enrollment approaches, states’ final approvals of rate increases are rolling in. While some states were able to keep increases in the single digits, higher-than-expected health care costs resulted in hikes of more than 20 percent in some states. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires review of rate increases of 10 percent or more for non-grandfathered health plans sold in the individual or small group market.

Arkansas. In Arkansas, rate increases have been held below 10 percent, according to the state’s Insurance Department. While three of the four insurers participating in the state’s marketplace increased rates by between 0.08 percent and 7.15 percent, one insurer decreased rates by 8.20 percent.

Florida. In Florida, an average premiums increase of 9.5 percent will affect Floridians who buy their own plans. State regulators denied higher proposed rate increases for more than half of Florida’s issuers. While the majority of plans will experience single-digit increases, four plans will decrease their rates from 2015.

Idaho. Insurers in Idaho are increasing rates, with Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service increasing the most, with an average hike of 23 percent. Reports say that the company required increases after losing millions of dollars because current customer premiums are not keeping up with the cost of claims paid. Other insurers have finalized rate increases ranging from 7 percent to 26 percent.

Iowa. Rate increases in Iowa, which will affect thousands of the state’s residents, will range from 9.4 percent to 28.7 percent, which are split among pre- and post-ACA plans. The rate increases are the result of higher-than-expected health care costs.

Kansas. Following three months of review and discussions with health insurers in Kansas, rate increases for the 2016 federal marketplace in Kansas range from 9.4 to 25.4 percent. This represents a decrease from the amounts originally requested in May, said Kansas Commissioner of Insurance Ken Selzer, C.P.A. Less than 5 percent of Kansans will be affected by the rate revisions. For 2016, a total of 96 plans have been proposed for sale on the state’s federally facilitated marketplace, representing an increase of 10 individual plan choices from 2015’s open enrollment.

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