2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

Michigan: *Approved* 2016 weighted avg. rate increase: 6.5% (just 1% for Sm. Group)

Well I'll be damned. Given all the tea leaf/entrail-reading that I've had to do in some states to try and piece together the weighted average rate increases for 2016 (usually due to missing enrollment/market share data for the companies participating), it's a pleasant surprise to see that my own state of Michigan has posted the approved rate hikes without any gobbledygook:

Individual market to increase on average 6.5%, small group 1.0%

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 18, 2015

LANSING - Michigan consumers and small businesses will experience lower increases in the cost of their 2016 health insurance plan than those in many other states, according to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). DIFS reports that the average approved rate changes on a premium weighted basis increased by 6.5 percent for the individual market and 1 percent for the small group market.

“Many states are reporting rate increases well in excess of 10 percent which is significantly higher than the rate of health care inflation,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin. “We are pleased that Michigan consumers are seeing more modest increases.”

...DIFS has updated its Rate Change Request Charts to include the final approved rate changes for each company. These rate changes affect about 900,000 Michiganders enrolled in individual or family policies or through their small group employer. Michigan’s premium increases are the result of a number of factors that vary by market. In the individual market, Michigan companies attributed the change to annual health care costs, the expected reduction in Federal program reinsurance recoveries, and higher than expected claim costs. In the small group market, many companies experienced better than expected results, offsetting the expected increase due to the change in annual health care costs.

Here's the actual rate chart...a fully-detailed graph laying out everything I'm looking for in a nice, easy-to-read format:

Beautiful. Every company listed in alphabetical order. The exchange status (On/Off). The requested avg. rate hike and approved avg. hike for each...and most importantly, the number of affected individuals (aka "covered lives"), which is critical in order to calculate a weighted average.

Oddly, when I plug these exact same numbers into my spreadsheet, the weighted average comes in even lower, at 6.34%, but whatever; I presume there's some rounding and/or other factors involved which I'm missing here. Either way, this is still good news, as either 6.5% or 6.3% is still quite a bit lower than the 9.8% I had estimated way back in May.

The news for the Small Group Market is even better: Just a 1% overall weighted avg. rate hike: