2017 Rate Request Early Look: Vermont

Like most states, Vermont does have an account with the SERFF database system for insurance rate filings. Until today, I assumed that they just hadn't posted the 2017 filings yet, since there's only one unrelated listing there at the moment.

However, thanks to an anonymous tipster for reminding me that Vermont also has their own, in-house rate review website...and the state is pretty easy to run the math on due to the fact that....

  • There's only 2 carriers in the state even offering individual or small group policies at all,
  • Under state law, all individual/small group policies have to be sold on the ACA exchange anyway, and
  • Unlike most states, Vermont is apparently requiring that the risk pools for individual & small group policies be merged, so there's only 1 set of rate changes his year (last year they did have slightly different average rate hikes for the two markets).

Anyway, here's the deal:

On May 11, 2016, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of VT (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc. (MVP) filed their 2017 VT Health Connect Rate Filings. BCBSVT proposes an average annual rate increase of 8.2%. MVP proposes an average annual rate increase of 8.8%. The Board has begun its review of the filings and the public is encouraged to submit comments through July 26, 2016. The Board will hold hearings on the proposed rate increases on July 20 (BCBSVT) and July 21 (MVP) at its offices in Montpelier. Hearings are open to the public. The Board's decisions approving, modifying or disapproving the rate filings will be issued August 9, 2016

OK, 8.2% hikes for BCBSVT, 8.8% for MVP.

Not much is required in the way of weighting, but just to cover all the bases, here's the MVP filing:

The proposed rates reflect an average rate adjustment to prior rates of 8.8%, ranging from 3.5% to 13.5%. There are 2,987 policyholders, 4,354 subscribers and 6,614 members impacted by this rate filing.

...and here's BCBSVT:

There are 42,527 contracts (70,423 members) currently enrolled in a BCBSVT QHP. BCBSVT is proposing an average rate increase of 8.2 percent across all QHPs. Increases for specific QHPs range from 5.2 percent to 10.9 percent.

That's 77,037 total effectuated enrollees; remember, that's the individual and small business markets combined.

29,440 people selected individual QHPs as of the end of open enrollment this year; presumably around 26,000 of them are still currently effectuated, so the remaining 51,000 are presumably enrolled in small business policies.

In any event, the weighted average breakout is:

  • MVP: 8.6% of the market x 8.8% rate hike request = 0.0075552267
  • BCBSVT: 91.4% of the market x 8.2% rate hike request = 0.074959902

Total: 0.082515102 = 8.25% = 8.3% weighted average rate hike request for both the individual and small business market in Vermont.