Maryland 2015 QHP rates range from 14% DROP to 16% increase

Hat Tip To: 
Marvin H.

This Just In (busy day today)...

Commissioner Approves Premium Rates for 2015 Individual Market

(Baltimore) – Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith today announced approved premium rates for individual health insurance plans to be offered in the State for coverage beginning January 1, 2015.

Premium rates for three of the six carriers currently participating in Maryland’s individual insurance market – All Savers Insurance Company, Evergreen Health Cooperative, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. − will drop by an average of 6.7 percent, 10.3 percent, and 14.1 percent, respectively. The other three carriers currently in the market, all CareFirst companies, received approval to increase premium rates by 9.8 percent (CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc.) or 16.2 percent (CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc.), on average − substantial reductions from the 22.8 percent and 30.2 percent increases those companies requested for 2015.

The Commissioner also approved 2015 premium rates for two new market entrants: Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company and UnitedHealthCare of the Mid-Atlantic, Inc. 

“With new companies offering plans and a number of premium rates dropping, Maryland’s individual insurance market is robust and competitive,” Commissioner Goldsmith said Friday.

To assist the Commissioner in making rate decisions, Maryland Insurance Administration actuaries reviewed the data, methodologies, and assumptions companies used to develop their proposed rates.  The Commissioner also considered public comments, along with other relevant factors, including the impact premium rates will have on Maryland consumers, in determining whether to approve, modify or deny requested rates.  Summaries of each rate decision are available on the MIA’s rate review website  Sample approved 2015 premium rates for all companies by geographic region also are available on that website.  The sample rates do not reflect any financial assistance a consumer may receive to reduce premiums or cost-sharing for plans purchased through the State’s insurance exchange, Maryland Health Connection. 

Individuals may sign up for new plans or renew existing ones during the open enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through February 15, 2015.  Consumers who enrolled for 2014 coverage through Maryland Health Connection must re-enroll in order to continue to receive financial subsidies.

Unfortunately, I don't know the marketshare breakdown of the 6 companies which were already on the MD exchange this year, though I do know CareFirst Blue Cross is the largest and I believe Evergreen Health is the smallest (at least it was as of early March). Therefore, I can't really do any sort of weighted average here.

Still, the fact that the final rates are 9.8% & 16.2% instead of the 22.8% & 30.2% originally requested respectively underlines the importance of not getting all bent out of shape over the initial requested rates.