Charles Gaba's blog


08/24/22: See updates below

A few years ago (just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit U.S. shores), I posted a lengthy, wonky entry about healthcare plans for college students and how they're a perfect example of how dramatically one insurance risk pool can vary from another.

This post was very personal for me because it was inspired by my own family moving from an ACA exchange individual market policy over to the student plan my wife (and therefore our son and myself) qualifies for due to her enrolling at Oakland University here in Michigan, where she's getting her counseling degree.

The plan being offered to all students (including graduate students and their families) was a Gold PPO through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Here's how it compared against the closest equivalent policies available on the ACA exchange at the time, assuming we didn't qualify for any ACA subsidies (remember, this was before the American Rescue Plan beefed up & enhanced the subsidies to those earning more than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level):

Privacy Policy

August 22, 2022

Your privacy is critically important to us. At Mercy High School ("Mercy High School", "we", "us", "our"), we have a few fundamental principles:

  • We don't ask you for personal information unless we truly need it. (We can't stand services that ask you for things like your gender or income level for no apparent reason.)
  • We don't share your personal information with anyone except to comply with the law, develop or operate our products or services, or protect our rights.
  • We don't store personal information on our servers or the offsite servers of the third-party service providers we use to provide our core services unless required for the on-going operation of one of our services.
  • In our social networking and mobile application products, we aim to make it as simple as possible for you to control what is visible to the public, seen by search engines, kept private, and permanently deleted.

Below is our privacy policy ("Privacy Policy"):

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 2015:

MICHIGAN: Another One (Mostly) Bites The Dust; 12th CO-OP Drops Off Exchange, May Go Belly-Up

It appears that East Lansing-based Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan could wind down operations this year as it is not participating in the state health insurance exchange for 2016.

But officials of Consumers Mutual today are discussing several options that could determine its future status with the state Department of Insurance and Financial Services, said David Eich, marketing and public relations officer with Consumers Mutual.

Consumers Mutual CEO Dennis Litos said: "We are reviewing our situation (financial condition) with DIFS and should conclude on a future direction this week.”

While Eich said he could not disclose the options, he said one is “winding down” the company, which has 28,000 members, including about 6,000 on the exchange.


(sigh) Once again, the Kansas Insurance Dept. is supremely unhelpful when it comes to providing information about individual & small group market health insurance premium rate changes. Not only are the ACA plans not listed in the state's SERFF database or on the department's website, even the actuarial memos available at the federal Rate Review website are heavily redacted.

As a result, I only have the actual enrollment numbers for a handful of carriers, preventing me from being able to calculate a properly weighted average. With enrollment data for three of the six carriers on the individual market, and based on an estimated total individual market enrollment of 110,000 Kansans, the average increase should be around 8.3%, give or take (the unweighted average is 9.8%).

For the small group market, I don't have any hard enrollment data, so can only run the unweighted average increase, which is around 7.2%.

New Mexico

New Mexico's preliminary 2023 individual & small group market rate filings are finally available. It's possible that these are even the approved rates (the filing headers make this a bit confusing, but even if they are, the odds are there will be some final tweaks anyway now that the Inflation Reduction Act has been signed into law, extending the enhanced ARP subsidies for another three years.

The weighted averages themselves are pretty high (11.3% for individual market plans; an unweighted 8.8% for the small group market). Beyond that the most noteworthy item is that True Health NM is dropping out of the New Mexico exchange, leaving nearly 1/3 of the state's individual market enrollees to shop around for a different carrier:

About 38,000 New Mexicans will have to find a new health insurer next year.

Bright Health Group, the owner of True Health New Mexico, announced Thursday that it will no longer offer individual and family plans for the 2023 plan year to members in New Mexico and five other states.

North Dakota

The headline above is actually a bit questionable; I'm not 100% sure whether the second rate filings are final/approved or not. They're lower than the "requested" rates listed on the federal Rate Review website, and the filing forms say these are "approved," but there hasn't been a formal press release issued either so it's hard to be sure.

In any event, the weighted average unsubsidized rate increase for 2023 looks like it's 4.4% on the individual market (down from the earlier 5.9% requested hikes), while the small group market carriers are requesting average increases of 4.1%.

New York

I wasn't expecting New York to be the first state to publicly release their final/approved rate filings, but so be it (in fact, they're just the first state I'm aware of to do so).

Thanks to Michael Capaldo for the heads up on this press release from the NY Dept. of Financial Services:



Virginia has an extremely robust, competitive individual & small group insurance market...and in 2023 it's getting even more competitive, with what appear to be two new carriers joining the individual market (Aetna Health Inc. and Anthem EPO), although Anthem is only offering off-exchange policies (why??) while Bright Health Insurance appears to be dropping out of the individual market (which is a common theme for Bright this year...)

Virginia used to be one of the first states to release their preliminary rate filings for the upcoming year, but for the past year or two it's been among the later ones. I don't know how much of this is due to COVID-related issues or if it's just an internal policy change for some other reason. Regardless, as a result, VA also happens to be the first state to release their annual rate filings since the Inflation Reduction Act (which includes a 3-year extension of the enhanced ACA subsidies) passed both the U.S. House and Senate.

Covered California Logo

via Covered California:

  • The Inflation Reduction Act extends the increased financial help initially provided by the American Rescue Plan through the end of 2025.
  • The increased subsidies expanded health care coverage, leading to record enrollment in California and across the nation, and lowered insurance costs for people who signed up through an Affordable Care Act marketplace.
  • The landmark legislation will continue to make coverage more affordable at a time when many individuals and families are facing increased challenges in the current economic environment.

La versión en español de este Comunicado puede ser descargada en este enlace


via the Michigan Dept. of Insurance & Financial Services:

(LANSING, MICH) Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox is applauding Congress and the Biden Administration for enacting the Inflation Reduction Act which, in part, will extend increased Health Insurance Marketplace premium subsidies for another three years. These subsidies, first expanded by the American Rescue Plan, have enabled 4 out of 5 enrolled Americans to find health insurance for less than $10 per month on