Michigan: Preliminary 2019 ACA rate hike request: Only 1.7%...but WITHOUT sabotage it'd DROP by 3.4% or more!


Time: D H M S

NOTE: I originally missed two carriers (McLaren and Molina); thanks to Louise Norris for calling attention to my error. The entire post, along with the table, has been updated to reflect the updated numbers including all 11 carriers.

Also note that while the headline originally reflected what the average rate change would be without the CSR load sabotage factor introduced in 2017, I've decided to be consistent with other states and only include 2018 sabotage impact.

My home state of Michigan just posted their preliminary requested rate changes for the 2019 Open Enrollment Period, and unlike most of the other states which have released their early requests so far, Michigan is a pleasant surprise: An overall average requested premium increase of just 1.7%!

Also noteworthy: According to the filings, eight of the carriers are specifically projecting exactly a 5% mandate repeal factor, which is remarkably consistent (usually the projections are all over the place). HAP is slightly lower (4.4%) while Molina is higher (7.2%). Priority Health didn't mention this at all, but it's safe to assume it'd be roughly 5% for them as well.

The other Big News: Oscar Health, the relatively new insurance carrier which was actually co-founded by Jared Kushner's brother (take that for what it's worth) is joining the Michigan ACA exchange next year...and Health Alliance Plan, which pulled out of the on-exchange market this year in direct response to Donald Trump cutting off CSR reimbursement payments, appears to be jumping back onto the exchange in 2019.

UPDATE: Correction...while there's one reference to HAP plans being sold on exchange, there's numerous references to them again being OFF-exchange ONLY, including in the actual rate build-up where they're quite specific about this:

Overall, it appears that the 2018 sabotage factors are causing at least a 5% rate increase (for mandate repeal). A couple of carriers made references to #ShortAssPlans as well, and Priority Health (which is lowering rates slightly) went as far as to include a bold-faced warning at the top of their filing about the potential impact of #ShortAssPlans on 2019 premiums.

Finally, while the actual number of enrollees shown below is specifically noted for 10 of the 11 carriers, Priority Health didn't mention it, and instead said that it's "based on 2018 enrollment" which was a bit under 36,000 according to last year's filing.

One thing I find very interesting is that Blue Cross, Blue Care Network and Meridian Health Plan, which comprise around 77% of the total individual market, made a point of mentioning the CSR load factor due to last year's sabotage efforts by Donald Trump. In summary:

  • Actual average request: 1.7% increase
  • Average request without 2018 sabotage factors: 3.4% decrease
  • Average request without 2017 or 2018 sabotage factors: 11.0% decrease