Small-group, individual rate proposals lowest in decade in Michigan

Average small group insurance rates are projected to drop by 0.2 percent for 2019, while individual market rates on the Obamacare exchange average only a 1.4 percent proposed rate increase, according to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Despite uncertainty in the insurance markets because the Trump administration has taken steps to shift costs to policyholders, the nine individual plans offered on the exchange range show price changes that range from a decrease of 2.5 percent to an 11 percent increase. The 17 small-group plans range in price from a 9.5 percent cut to an 8.5 percent increase.

“Michigan consumers are very fortunate to have such a strong lineup of insurers for the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace,” DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin said in a statement. “Michigan’s competitive market coupled with improved claims experience has led to providers proposing moderate rate changes for 2019. Some proposed rate filings even indicate a decrease in rates for the 2019 plan year.”

For the individual market, nine health insurers are offering plans on the Obamacare marketplace: Blue Care Network; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; McLaren Health Plan Community; Meridian Health Plan of Michigan; Molina Healthcare; Oscar Insurance Co.; Physicians Health Plan; Priority Health; and Total Health Care USA.

For example, Blue Care Network is offering an average 1.1 percent increase in small group market and a cut of 2.7 percent in the individual market. Priority Health is offering a cut of 2.6 percent in the small-group plans and a 2.5 percent cut in average individual plans.

Health Alliance Plan is offering to cut small-group plans by 6.2 percent while not proposing to increase individual rate plans, on average. McLaren is seeking an 11.1 percent individual increase and a 5.9 percent increase for small-group plans. (See chart below for further information).

DIFS said that in 2018 some 414,000 people were covered in the small-group market and 343,000 people were covered in the individual market on the Obamacare exchange. More than 80 percent of individuals buying coverage received federal subsidies that cut their premiums by substantial amounts.

DIFS is seeking public comment on the proposed rate changes until July 23 at [email protected]. The state usually posts final prices in early August.

Open enrollment for Michigan’s federally facilitated health insurance marketplace begins Nov. 1 and closes Dec. 15. Policies start Jan. 1, 2019.


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