Washington State: *Approved* 2020 ACA Exchange Premium Rate Changes: 3.3% decrease!
Back in early June, the Washington State Insurance Commissioner announced that preliminary rate filings for the ACA individual market in 2020 were averaging just 1.0% higher than this year. My own analysis brought the weighted average in at 1.4%, but whatever. The Small Group market requests also came in at an average increase of 6.7%.
A couple of days ago, the WA Insurance Dept. posted a press release with the final/approved rates for 2020, and they've managed to knock average premiums on the Individual market down by about 4 more points:
Kreidler approves record low average rate decrease of -3.27% for Exchange plans
Eight health insurers approved to sell in next year's Exchange marketplace
Eight health insurers have been approved to sell health plans in Washington state’s 2020 Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, with a record low average rate decrease of -3.27%.
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board is scheduled to certify the approved plans at a meeting later today.
“I’m pleased to see the average rate change go down and that many will see lower premiums next year,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. “This comes in the face of continuing efforts by the Trump administration to dismantle the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan. We still have work to do to lower the underlying cost of health care and to help lower out-of-pocket costs, but these new rates are welcome news.”
One additional Exchange insurer — Providence Health Plan — is still under review. Four insurers — Regence BlueShield, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Asuris Northwest Health and Health Alliance Northwest Health Plan — intend to sell only outside of the Exchange and are also still under review.
Hmmmm...OK, this isn't quite complete: One on-exchange carrier is under review, along with four off-exchange-only carriers. On the other hand, Providence is a new entry to the Washington market anyway, and the four off-exchange carriers only hold around 3% of the state's individual market combined, so unless they see some major changes, they shouldn't impact the statewide weighted average by much. Assuming they're approved as is, the final average will be a 3.1% drop instead of 3.3%:
How much someone will pay depends on the plan they choose, if they qualify for any financial help, where they live, their age, whether or not they smoke and how many family members are covered, and their family members' age.
Approximately 241,000 people who don’t get coverage from their employer must buy their own health insurance through the individual market, with most shopping through the Exchange. In Washington, 65% of people who buy Exchange plans qualify for subsidies that help lower their monthly premiums.
It looks like there's around a 27,000 enrollee discrepancy between my total and the WA DOI. I'm not sure if they're including people still enrolled in grandfathered plans or what. I should note that my MLR project data puts the WA Indy market at 236,000, so (shrug)...
UPDATE 10/10/19: OK, the Washington DOI has posted a final update which includes the approved rate changes for the four remaining carriers. The final statewide aveage is slightly lower yet: a 3.3% reduction:
I get a slightly different average of -3.06%, but that could be accounted for by the 27,000 enrollee disrepancy.