2019 Rate Hike Project Wrap-up: FINAL/APPROVED rate changes for West Virginia

I realize this may seem a bit late in the game seeing how the 2019 ACA Open Enrollment Period has already started, but I do like to be as complete and thorough as possible, and there were still 9 states missing final/approved premium rate change analyses as of yesterday which I wanted to check off my 2019 Rate Hike Project list.

Fortunately, RateReview.HealthCare.Gov has finally updated their database to include the approved rate changes for every state, which made it easy to take care of most of these.

West Virginia's requested average rate increase was among the highest in the country for 2019--a weighted average of around 14.9%.

However, while state insurance regulators left one of the three carriers offering individual market policies alone, they knocked the other two down substantially: CareSource was lowered from around 13.1% to 9.5%, while Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield was lowered from an average of 15.9% to 9.0%.

The way it's displayed in the RR.HC.Gov database is a bit confusing since there are three separate listings for Highmark's 3 product lines, but the actual revised rate filing clearly states that the average across all three lines is 9.0% when it had previously been 15.9%.

As a result, WV's statewide average increase has dropped from 14.9% to 9.3%...still at the higher end of the range, but below the double digit threshold.

Unfortunately, there's still the mandate repeal & #ShortAssPlans factors, which I estimate are tacking on a whopping $1,300 per unsubsidized enrollee next year.