Minnesota will let the health insurers in its Obamacare market raise rates by at least 50 percent next year, after the individual market there came to the brink of collapse, the state’s commerce commissioner said Friday.
The increases range from 50 percent to 67 percent, Commissioner Mike Rothman’s office said in a statement. Rothman, who regulates the state’s insurers, is an appointee under Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat. The rate hike follows increases for this year of 14 percent to 49 percent.
….So a loss of $70 million after less than a year in operation in just a few markets. Harken’s plan was to reduce costs for expensive treatments down the line by allowing all of its enrollees unlimited primary care visits with no co-pays and no deductibles. However those visits could only be with doctors at Harken’s own health clinics. One health broker told Modern Healthcare her clients didn’t like the idea of giving up their regular doctors:
Susan Morris, an independent broker in Atlanta, said Harken “did a poor job of marketing the plan to agents and brokers.” In addition, she said her individual customers didn’t like the idea of giving up their regular primary care doctors and instead using Harken’s staff providers. And Harken didn’t have enough clinic locations to serve the large Atlanta market….
Seems that Washington DC isn’t the only place that’s learned the art of the Friday afternoon news dump. Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced yesterday afternoon that the state had approved health insurance premium increases that will average 60% in MNsure, the state’s ObamaCare exchange. The statement blamed big losses by insurers in the state, and bad predictions about utilization rates, for the decision:
Rothman said that Minnesota’s rate increases are part of a national trend in the individual health insurance market, with nearly all states looking at double-digit rate increases as insurers seek to align premium revenues with expected claims costs. States’ rate increases are also exacerbated by cuts to critical federal programs that were intended to stabilize the market and rates for consumers.
However, Minnesota’s individual market also faces unique challenges because of a disproportionate concentration of individuals with serious medical conditions whose high claims costs must be absorbed by a relatively small risk pool, pushing up rates for everyone in the individual market.
Citing ongoing financial losses, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota announced in late June that it is leaving the individual market, except for its Blue Plus HMO affiliate. The company’s decision affects approximately 103,000 Minnesotans, or about 40 percent of the state’s total individual market…..
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee announced Monday it would no longer offer plans in three of the state’s most heavily populated regions. The insurer posted an explanation on its website (along with a map):
We’re trying hard to make the Affordable Care Act (ACA) work in Tennessee and are offering plans in most of the state for 2017.
Because of many challenges, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to end coverage in three regions for 2017 – the Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville regions (shaded in orange below)…..
Count Minnesotans among the consumers who will get a big rate shock in November when open enrollment begins for ObamaCare. Insurers have applied for massive increases in the state MNsure exchange, with premiums escalating between 36% to 67%, and possibly more. And they’ll get it, because the alternative for insurers is to pack up and leave:
Minnesota health insurers are seeking big premium increases next year for people who buy coverage on their own, with proposed jumps for thousands of people averaging anywhere from 36 percent to 67 percent.
About 270,000 people buy coverage through Minnesota’s individual market, where shoppers buy through insurers, brokers or the state’s MNsure health insurance exchange…..
Double-digit Obamacare premium hikes projected in 2017 may bode in Donald Trump’s favor, as several swing states are being impacted by double-digit increases under the law and consumers are expected to see the hikes around Nov. 1 — one week before heading to the polls.
Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, but Hillary Clinton has vowed to make the Obamacare exchanges work. Some say the way she would do that is through raising taxes.
“Any reports of premium increases will immediately become talking points on the campaign trail,” stated Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re in an election where the very future of the law will be debated.”
The Heritage Foundation found dramatic increases on premiums in Wisconsin and Florida as well as Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina under the law in comparison to before Obamacare went into effect. Currently, insurers in the Obamacare marketplace in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are wanting double-digit hikes on premiums.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is reportedly requesting to increase rates by more than 18 percent, while in Ohio, the average requested hike is around 10 percent. In Pennsylvania, companies want hikes averaging 23.6 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
Much like California, the state of Maryland has been almost ostentatiously gung-ho about the implementation of the Patient “Protection” and “Affordable” Care Act. Also like California, Maryland is encountering some most unfortunate problems the likes of which only they and their fellow esteemed Democrats seem not to have seen coming.
For instance: Maryland would really very much appreciate it if the insurance companies operating in their state could offer rates that the state arbitrarily deems to be affordable and attractive offers, the better to lure potential participants into the state’s ObamaCare exchanges. Insurance companies, meanwhile, would really like it if they could avoid operating at a loss. It’s selfish, really.
Aetna Inc pulled out of Maryland’s health insurance exchange being created under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law after the state pressed it to lower its proposed rates by up to 29 percent. …
….“Unfortunately, we believe the modifications to the rates filed by Aetna and Coventry would not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans, including the medical network and service expectations of our customers,” Aetna said in the letter to insurance commissioner Therese Goldsmith.
According to online documents, Aetna had requested an average monthly premium of $394 a month for one of its plans and the agency had approved an average rate of $281 per month.
And it was just the other day that ObamaCare’s supporters were touting Maryland’s lower rates as proof of the health care overhaul’s success….