2017 Rate Request Early Look: Mississippi

Mississippi remains one of only two states which still don't have their 2017 Rate Filings posted over at HC.gov's Rate Review database. In addition, while Mississippi does use the SERFF system for other types of insurance, major medical doesn't appear to be among them. Finally, while the MS Dept. of Insurance does include a special website specifically designed for searching/comparing rate changes for health insurance policies...it doesn't appear to have been updated in awhile (the only recently listings are for obscure carriers which seem to be mostly offering short-term plans and other "mini-med" types of policies, not full ACA-compliant plans.

The point is that I don't have the actual rate filings to go on for now...but thanks to commenter farmbellpsu for bringing my attention to this (corrected) news article which escaped my radar last week:

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's insurance commissioner has approved a rate increase of 43 percent, on average, for one of two health insurers selling policies on the health exchange created under the federal health care overhaul.

Commissioner Mike Chaney said Thursday he approved the increase, beginning Jan. 1, for Kentucky-based Humana...

...Humana intends to serve 32 of Mississippi's 82 counties in 2017, leaving 14 counties.

...The Republican Chaney said Humana, which has about 13,000 policyholders on the federal exchange, initially sought a nearly 50 percent increase.

Chaney said he also approved a rate increase of roughly 7 percent on average for Magnolia Health, a unit of St. Louis-based Centene Corp. The commissioner said Magnolia has about 40,000 customers on the exchange.

...The average premium for the benchmark silver plan, where policyholders pay about 30 percent of costs, fell 8 percent from 2015 to 2016 in Mississippi. Premiums fell 19 percent the year earlier, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

Of Mississippians, 95 percent get subsidies cutting their costs, dropping the average premium to $91 a month, federal figures show.

UnitedHealth Group, which had been offering policies in all 82 counties and has 18,000 policyholders, has announced it is leaving the state after 2016.

...Chaney said all three companies currently selling policies are making profits from the Mississippi exchange market.

OK, that's a lot of data points covered in a single article, so now I can piece them together.

First, according to my post last year, there should have been one more carrier on MS's indy market this year: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi, although I think they were only available off-exchange...and they aren't listed at Data.HC.Gov anyway, so perhaps they already bailed.

In 2014, MS's total indy market was around 128,000 people (including grandfathered/transitional policies); as of March 31st 2016, they had 78,000 actively enrolled in ACA exchange plans. The article above accounts for 71,000 of these:

  • Humana: 13,000 exchange-based QHPs (50% requested, 43% approved)
  • Magnolia (Ambetter/Centene): 40,000 (7% requested and approved)
  • UnitedHealthcare:18,000 (dropping out of MS indy market altogether)

It sounds like there should be at least another 57,000 off-exchange individual market enrollees unaccounted for, but until I have that data I have no way of knowing what the status is for those. That leaves just the Humana and Magnolia numbers, which average out as follows:

  • Humana: 24.5% x 50% requested = 0.12264151
  • Magnolia: 75.5% x 7% requested = 0.05285
  • Weighted Average Requested: 17.55%

The approved average is slightly lower:

  • Humana: 24.5% x 43% approved = 0.10535
  • Magnolia: 75.5% x 7% approved = 0.05285
  • Weighted Average Approved: 15.82%