2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

2018 Rate Hikes: Connecticut (early look)

UPDATE: As I've been warning for months, several carriers have now openly stated that perhaps 40% of their requested rate hike is due specifically to concerns about the Trump administration & the GOP's ongoing sowing of confusion and outright sabotage of the ACA and the individual market.

Connecticut is the 3rd state to post their initial 2018 rate filings.

Unlike most states, Connecticut did all the legwork for me, making it incredibly easy to plug the numbers into a spreadsheet for weighted average (requested, unsubsidized) rate hikes for both the individual and small group markets:

The Connecticut DOI even lists the number of covered lives in a no-BS, straightforward way, so unless some carrier is dropping out of one or more of the markets, the numbers above should represent the total number of ACA-compliant enrollees Connecticut expects to have at the end of 2017, not including grandfathered enrollees (CT didn't allow transitional plans) in both markets.

Overall, it looks like CT carriers are asking for a weighted, unsubsidized average rate hike of around 23.8% on the individual market and 18.9% on the small group market.

As for the reasons for the increases, the intro page is more clear about this than either Maryland or Virginia have been:

In their filings, companies have cited key cost drivers:

Trend: Trend is a factor that accounts for rising health care costs, including the cost of prescription drugs, and higher demand for medical services.

Risk Pool Experience: Carriers are seeing deteriorating claims experience continue into the first quarter of 2017.

Health Insurance Tax: The federal Health Insurance Tax is returning for 2018, which accounts for 2-3% of premium. There had been a moratorium on the tax.

Other Factors:  Carriers have filed to take into consideration the perceived lack of strong enforcement of the individual mandate, the lack of stability of the risk adjustment mechanism and the evolving participation of carriers in the market.

OK, so out of 23.8% overall, around 2-3% of it is due to the Health Insurance Tax finally being implemented (if it actually is). That leaves another 21% or so. This is the first time I've seen an official insurance commissioner website come right out and say, point blank, that Trump/Price playing head games with mandate penalty enforcement is part of the problem, though they don't try to quantify it beyond mentioning it as one of a bunch of factors.

In short, a mish-mash, as I've been saying all along. Some is due to normal medical expenses increasing, inflation, etc. Some is due to the tax kicking in. Some is due to real risk pool stability issues with the ACA itself. Some is due to Trump/Price/GOP screwing around.