Louisiana: *Preliminary* avg. 2020 ACA premiums: 11.7% increase (+1 weird filing)

Huh. This is interesting...after a couple dozen states with near-flat or even reduced 2020 premiums, Louisiana is just the third state I've come across where the carriers are seeking double-digit rate increases for next year.

There's actually only 3 carriers offering individual market plans in Louisiana, but there's seven listings because two of the carriers have broken out their submissions into several different product lines. Overall, HMO LA, LA Health Service & Indemnity (Blue Cross Blue Shield of LA) and Vantage Health Plan are requesting average premium increases of 11.7% statewide.

I should note that there's also one odd listing (see second screenshot below), from UnitedHealthcare. It claims to be for off-exchange ACA-compliant individual market plans, but two things about it make no sense:

  • First, the fact that it was submitted and approved way back in March, long before most ACA filings are even submitted. This is normally only for non-ACA plans (indemnity, short-term, etc).
  • Second, and more confusing: Take a look at the number of policy holders (just 2) vs. the number of covered lives (5,128). Remember, this is supposedly for the individual market, which is reserved for...well, individuals or families. I know some couples have a lot of children, but I find it difficult to believe that there are two families in Louisiana with over 2,500 kids. At first I figured this was just a typo...that it's supposed to be for large group policies (remember, small groups are limited to under 100 employees), but the actual actuarial filing form attached to it also specifies this is the 2020 Individual Actuarial Certification. Huh.

There's also an outlier small group filing for Humana...it, too, was submitted/approved of back in March for policies starting in July. In that case the numbers made more sense and I don't really focus on the small group market as closely anyway, so I just included it while marking it as such. Overall, LA's small group carriers are asking for a 7.5% average increase.

UPDATE: Mystery already solved: I did some additional hunting around the SERFF database and it turns out UnitedHealthcare's "Individual" policy filing is actually for student plans (see last screenshot below); the two policyholders must be universities, with 5,128 college students enrolled in them. Louise Norris explained to me that student plans are categorized as Individual Market plans, although they're still part of a separate risk pool.