OE8

Hmmm...back in June, the New York Dept. of Financial Services published the preliminary 2021 rate filing requests for the individual & small group markets. As I noted at the time:

Hmmmm....some of these seem suspiciously high, at least as compared to the handful of other states which have released their preliminary requests so far, but we'll have to see...

Well, today the NY DFS issued the approved 2021 rates for both markets, and sure enough, they've been reduced pretty significantly:

DFS ANNOUNCES 2021 HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM RATES, PROTECTING CONSUMERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

It was just a few weeks ago that the Montana Insurance Department posted the preliminary 2021 rate filings for the individual & small group markets. At the time, the individual market carriers were requesting a 3.2% average rate increase, while the small group carriers wanted a 2.4% bump.

Unfortunately, the actual actuarial filing memos ("Part II Justification") weren't available as of this writing, so I couldn't tell whether there's any COVID-19 impact specifically mentioned or not. Montana is one of the states with the fewest casese of COVID per capita, so I wasn't expecting much, but it would be nice to know.

Today I checked again and it looks like they've not only posted the Actuarial Memos (which don't mention COVID-19 at all, as I expected), but it also looks like Montana is the first state to publish their final/approved 2021 rate changes as well. They also modified the estimated enrollment numbers somewhat. Here's what it looks like now:

The bad news is that I still can't find any official 2021 rate filings at the Alabama Insurance Dept. website.

The good news is that both of last years' individual market carriers (Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bright Healthcare) do have listings for 2021 in the SERFF database.

The bad news is that those listings don't include actual rate filings, just some other forms.

The good news is that rate filings for every state appear to be available at RateReview.HealthCare.Gov this week.

The bad news is that the filings at RR.HC.gov appear to be incomplete so far; BCBS is listed but Bright isn't (and since I do have other forms for Bright being listed in 2021, I'm pretty sure it's not because they're pulling out of the Alabama market).

The North Carolina Insurance Dept. has published a summary of the preliminary premium rate changes requested by insurance carriers for the indvidual and small group markets in 2021.

The good news is they include the number of people enrolled by each carrier in both markets, making it easy to calculate a weighted average, and th ey even include the SERFF tracking number for each.

The bad news is they don't include links to the actuarial memos, and even plugging the tracking numbers into the SERFF database only brings up the memos for three of the six carriers on the individual market...and of those, two of the three have been redacted (Oscar and Cigna), while the third (UnitedHealthcare) is brand-new to the North Carolina market anyway and therefore has no COVID-19 impact on their rate changes to speak of.

via the Massachusetts Health Connector:

Are you turning 26 soon and still on your parent’s health insurance policy?  Did you know that you will need to take action or you may no longer have health insurance? Don’t worry, you have options!

Turning 26 triggers a special enrollment period that allows you to enroll in new health insurance coverage a within 60-days of your birthday.

Get coverage from your job

If you have a job that offers insurance, you can enroll in that coverage as turning 26—known as aging out—is considered a qualifying life event and will enable you to enroll in job-based coverage outside of your job’s open enrollment period.

Get covered through your school

If you are a college student, you may be able to enroll in a student health insurance plan through your school. Find out more

Apply for coverage through the Health Connector

As I noted last year, the Nevada Insurance Dept. website is both helpful and frustrating when it comes to tracking down the type of data that I need. On the one hand they make it very easy to view the individual & small group market rate filing summaries: Carrier names, markets, sumission dates, status, effective dates and most importantly, the proposed and approved average rate changes are all easily found.

On the other hand, they don't actually link to the filing memos or URRT forms, which means I can't find the actual effectuated enrollment numbers for each carrier, the impact of COVID-19 on each carrier's request or other noteworthy info about the filings. Oddly, they do include the SERFF tracking numbers...except that plugging those into the SERFF database still doesn't bring anything up, which kind of defeats the point.

Fortunately, the NV DOI does provide the weighted average of the entire market and COVID-19 impact elsewhere. I've also been able to piece together the total market enrollment (both on & off-exchange) using some other public data.

via MNsure:

With recent reports illustrating the growing number of uninsured Americans across the country, MNsure is reminding Minnesotans that there are options. For those who have lost their health insurance, seen a change in income, or experienced a qualifying life event, enrollment opportunities may be available.

"The last couple of months has brought tremendous uncertainty to many families across the state," said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. "It's important that Minnesotans know there are enrollment opportunities available if they lose their health insurance. MNsure is here to help."

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 100,000 Minnesotans have come through MNsure to find health insurance coverage.

For new customers, you may be eligible to enroll if:

I've acquired the preliminary 2021 rate filings for Georgia's individual and small group market carriers. There were two filings submitted for many of the carriers because of a (since delayed) ACA Section 1332 waivier submission; the carriers submitted one in case the waiver was approved and a second if it wasn't. Since the process has been delayed, however, the no-waiver filing is the one which is relevant.

As you can see in the tables at the bottom of this entry, the overall weighted rate change requested by individual market carriers in Georgia is a 1.3% reduction, which would have been more like a 2.3% drop if not for the COVID-19 factor, according to the carriers. The small group market carriers are requesting an 11.1% average increase, which is unusually high these days. I haven't reviewed all the memos for the sm. group market to see what they're pinning on COVID-19, however.

Here's what the indy market carriers have to say about the COVID-19 factor in their 2021 filings:

ALLIANT (indy):

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Insurance Dept. posted the preliminary 2021 rate filings for the individual and small group markets. On the surface, it appears that Pennsylvania has an absurdly competitive market, with 17 carriers listed on the indy market and 21 small group carriers...but when you look closer, many of these are simply branches of the same main company.

For instance, fully five of the individual market carriers are variants of "Highmark"...which is actually Pennsylvania's rebranding of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Two are branches of Geisinger and another two are both UPMC. The same is true in the small group market.

And don't even get me started about "Capital Advantage Assurance Company" and "Capital Advantage Insurance Company". Sheesh.

In any event, the overall rate filings average out to rougly a 2.6% premium decrease on the individual market and a 2.3% increase for small group plans, when weighted by carrier market share.

The Kentucky Insurance Dept. has posted KY's preliminary 2021 rate filings for the individual and small group markets, and the requested average rate increases for both are unusually high compared to the other states which have submitted their filings so far. In another unusual development, most of the carriers on each market are being pretty specific about the impact (or lack thereof) on their 2021 rate filings from the COVID-19 pandemic (I only have UnitedHealthcare posted once but they account for three of the seven small group carriers listed.

Anthem Health Plans of KY (individual market):

Just out from Covered California:

California’s Efforts to Build on the Affordable Care Act Lead to a Record-Low Rate Change for the Second Consecutive Year

  • The preliminary rate change for California’s individual market will be 0.6 percent in 2021, which marks a record low for the second consecutive year and follows California’s reforms to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.
  • Covered California’s increased enrollment, driven by state policies and significant investments in marketing and outreach, has resulted in California having one of the healthiest individual market consumer pools and lower costs for consumers.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on health plans’ costs has been less than anticipated as many people deferred or avoided health care services in 2020, and while those costs are rebounding, it now appears the pandemic will have little effect on the total costs of care in California’s individual market for 2020 and 2021.
  • All 11 health insurance companies will return to the market for 2021, and two carriers will expand their coverage areas, giving virtually all Californians a choice of two carriers and 88 percent the ability to choose from three carriers or more.

via the Arkansas Insurance Dept:

Health Insurance Rate Changes for 2021

Insurance companies offering individual and small group health insurance plans are required to file proposed rates with the Arkansas Insurance Department for review and approval before plans can be sold to consumers. 

The Department reviews rates to ensure that the plans are priced appropriately.  Under Arkansas Law (Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-110),  the Commissioner shall disapprove a rate filing if he/she finds that the rate is not actuarially sound, is excessive, is inadequate, or is unfairly discriminatory.

The Department relies on outside actuarial analysis by a member of the American Academy of Actuaries to help determine whether a rate filing is sound.

Below, you can review information on the proposed rate filings for Plan Year 2020 individual and small group products that comply with the reforms of the Affordable Care Act.  

Users will only be able to view the public details of the filing, as certain portions are deemed confidential by law (Ark. Code Ann. § 23-61-103).

The Colorado Dept. of Insurance has released the state's preliminary rate filings for 2021 individual & small group market policies yesterday.

Overall, it looks like Colorado carriers are asking for a weighted average rate increase of 2.2% on the individual market and 5.7% on the small group market. There's some important tables breaking out exactly which carriers are offering their policies in which counties, and they've even broken out the average rate hikes by rating area, which is unusual to see but takes on special significance in Colorado due to thier unusual Section 1332 reinsurance waiver program, which is more robust in some parts of the state than others (I believe most reinsurance programs are pretty much an across-the-board sort of thing, though I could be wrong about that).

via the Rhode Island Insurance Dept:

2021 Requested Commercial Health Insurance Rates Have Been Submitted to OHIC for Review

CRANSTON, R.I. (July 21st, 2020) – The Office of Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) today released the individual, small, and large group market premium rates requested by Rhode Island’s insurers. The requests were filed as part of OHIC’s 2020 rate review and approval process (for rates effective in 2021). Tables 1 – 3, below, summarize the insurers’ requests for 2021, and provide the requested and approved rate changes for the previous two years. Two insurers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (NHPRI) filed plans to be sold on the individual market for persons who do not receive insurance through their employer. In addition to BCBSRI and NHPRI, UnitedHealthcare and Tufts Health Plan filed small group market plans. Five insurers (BCBSRI, UnitedHealthcare, Tufts Health Plan, Aetna, and Cigna) filed large group rates.

I'm glad to see MNsure getting the word out about this issue but it's disturbing that they felt a need to do so...

CONSUMER ALERT: How to find MNsure online and make sure you're buying comprehensive coverage

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Searching for MNsure on the internet can yield misleading results. If you search for MNsure, you may see ads and websites that appear to be the official MNsure website but are not. Some of these sites collect your contact information and either bombard you with phone calls or try to sell you sub-standard health insurance. Here’s how to be sure you’re working with MNsure and purchasing comprehensive health care coverage:

Those eligible for the urgent need program must:

Check the website URL: make sure you’re clicking on MNsure.org when using a search engine or simply type MNsure.org into your address bar.

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