Montana: Preliminary avg. 2021 #ACA rate changes: +3.2% indy market, +2.4% sm. group

Last year, thanks to the Section 1332 Reinsurance waiver allowed for by the ACA, Montana health insurance carriers reduced their premiums for 2020 by 13.1% on average on the individual market, while raising them by 7% on the small group market (which the reinsurance program doesn't impact).

For 2021, avg. premiums are going up again, but only by a nominal amount...the requested increases average 3.2% for the individual market and just 2.4% for small group carriers:

Unfortunately, the actual actuarial filing memos ("Part II Justification") aren't available as of this writing, so I can't tell whether there's any COVID-19 impact specifically mentioned or not, but Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale certainly seems to think that Montanans should give him a round of applause:

Rosendale is pushing back on the proposed increases.

“I’ve already notified each of the companies individually that I’m having my actuaries go through their numbers with a fine-tooth comb and I think it’s unacceptable for them to submit any rate increases, especially in the midst of our current health pandemic,” Rosendale said. “At a time when insurance companies are seeing profit increases in the Obamacare markets and when we’re seeing such an under-utilization of elective health care during the COVID-19 pandemic that hospitals have had to furlough hundreds of employees, the insurers can do better.”

Rosendale goes on to pat himself on the back while trashing the ACA several times along the way, but his point about under-utilization of healthcare services during the pandemic is a valid one. On the other hand, as I noted a couple of weeks ago, most of the carriers (so far) don't seem to be adding much of anything to their 2021 premiums based on the COVID-19 pandemic to begin with, so his waggling his finger at them is likely mostly for show.