START OF 2018 OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Time: D H M S

2017 Rate Request Early Look: Maine

As numerous sources have already indicated, after 2 years of (relatively) low average premium rate increases on the individual market (around 5.6% in 2015 and 8.0% in 2016...compared with the 10-12% average rate hikes over the previous decade), it looks like 2017 will finally see the higher rate hikes that ACA critics have been screaming about every year.

So far, Virginia and Oregon have reported requested rate increases of 17.9% and 27.5% respectively, while California may be looking at 8.0% increases (which is high for them).

Today, Maine has their requests available...and after virtually flat rates this year, 2017 is looking less flattering:

There may be more people enrolled in Maine's ACA-compliant individual market policies, but I'm pretty sure this represents a good 90% of them (and the rest are likely Grandfathered/Grandmothered anyway, which don't belong to the same risk pool). I should note that I'm not clear on Harvard Pilgrim's PPO enrollment; the documentation suggests 3,132 member months, or 261 actual covered lives (divide by 12 months), but I could be misunderstanding that.

As always, it's vitally important to remember that:

  • These are requested hikes only, not approved;
  • The rate hikes vary greatly not just by carrier but by metal level and individual plan as well
  • The actual dollar amounts involved make a huge difference. A $300 premium going up 20% is still gonna cost less than a $400 premium going up 10%.