Alabama: Preliminary 2019 ACA rate changes: 2% DROP, would likely drop by up to ~16.4% w/out ACA Sabotage


Time: D H M S

Last year Alabama had only a single insurance carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield, offering individual market policies anywhere in the state. For 2018, a new carrier, Bright Health Insurance, jumped into the AL market. For 2019, both companies are lowering rates--BCBSAL is only dropping theirs slightly, but Bright clearly way overshot the mark out of the gate and is lowering their prices by 15.5% overall next year.

Unfortunately, neither of the filings clarifies just how many enrollees either has, so I don't know what the relative market share is; I'm going to assume that BCBS held onto about 90% of the total given their monopoly hold last year and the fact that Bright is a new/unknown player in the market (not to mention the fact that Bright seems to have overpriced their first year). Obviously I'll have to change this if I receive hard numbers to the contrary.

Assuming I'm close, however, unsubsidized Alabama residents should see their 2019 premiums drop by about 2% next year...except that they would be dropping substantially more if not for the mandate penalty being repealed and the expansion of #ShortAssPlans, as clearly noted in the filings for both companies. The Urban Institute assumed a whopping 21.6% sabotage tax, but I'm knocking 1/3 off that to be cautious and assuming "only" 14.4%. If so, that means unsubsidized Alabama enrollees will be paying nearly $1,200 more apiece next year than they should be: