District of Columbia: *Approved* 2017 rate hikes: 7.3% indy market, 0.4% small group (also: uninsured rate slashed in half!)

Two bits of news out of the DC exchange today: First, they announced that the uninsured rate has been slashed in half over the past 3 years thanks in no small part to the Affordable Care Act. Not a huge shocker given the recent surveys/studies released by the CDC, Gallup, Kaiser and so on of late, but still good to see:

District's Uninsured Rate Drops by Half

Washington, DC­­ – A new survey by the Center for the Study of Services conducted for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) concludes that the District of Columbia made huge gains during the most recent open enrollment period to provide access to health insurance coverage to people who were previously uninsured. Results from this survey show that more than 25,500 people, who were not previously covered in 2015, gained access to health insurance coverage in 2016 through DC Health Link, the District’s online health insurance marketplace.

...Additional findings show:

  • 25% of the people who enrolled in individual private health insurance coverage during the most recent open enrollment period were uninsured prior to getting coverage through DC Health Link.
  • 53% of the people who were determined eligible for Medicaid were uninsured before applying.
  • 40% of the small businesses enrolled in DC Health Link did not offer health insurance to their employees prior to enrollment through DC Health Link.

As for the 2017 rate increases, I had the requested increases estimated at around 8.9% for the individual market. Today the DC exchange posted the approved increases for both the indy and small group market (DC merges the risk pools for each, but the averages are still different due to market share variances between the two):

DISB Approves Rates for 2017 Health Plan Offerings on DC Health Link

...The same four major insurance companies as last year – Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare – will have plans on DC Health Link for individuals, families and small businesses for the 2017 plan year. Overall 171 plans were filed, up from 162 last year. The small group plans increased from 136 to 151, and individual plans decreased from 26 to 20.

The average increase in 2017 premiums across all insurers is 7.27% for individuals and 0.36% for small group plans.

That's a slight reduction for the indy market, and virtually no change whatsoever for the small group market.