North Dakota: *Approved* avg. 2021 #ACA premiums: +3.0% indy market, +2.0% sm. group

A couple of weeks ago I posted North Dakota's preliminary 2021 individual & small group policy premium rate filings, which averaged a 7.4% increase on the individual market and a 4.1% unweighted average increase for the small group market.

A few days ago, the North Dakota Insurance Dept. posted the final/approved rate hikes, including several significant reductions over those requested:

BISMARCK, N.D. – Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread today released the approved health insurance rates for both individual and small group plans for 2021, and encourages consumers to start early, stay informed and shop around.

“2020 has been a year unlike any in recent memory. Amid a global pandemic, the Insurance Department recognizes the importance of affordable, comprehensive and accessible health insurance,” Godfread said. “A vast majority of North Dakotans should see little to no change in the health insurance premiums they are paying from this year to next year. During these uncertain times, we felt it was important to give as much consistency to our consumers as possible, especially when it comes to health insurance.”

The 2021 rates still consider the 20% reduction from last year due to the passage of the state-based reinsurance program. Many of the rate adjustments were made to account for the subsidies that are paid for by the federal government to those individuals who qualify for an income based advanced premium tax credit. Those consumers who do not receive a subsidy should see minimal changes to their premiums. 

The second bold-faced sentence above is curiously worded. I'm not sure if it's talking about silver loading or what, exactly; I'd have to dig into the individual policy/metal level rate changes to decipher anything deeper.

Three major carriers for the individual market are operating statewide on the exchange (HealthCare.gov) and off-exchange (through a licensed and appointed agent), along with four major carriers for the small group market.

The approved average rate increases are 3.0% on the indy market and (unweighted) 2.0% on the small group market.