Charles Gaba's blog

Kansas

(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 weighted average (or to estimate the state's total ACA enrollment size, for that matter).

The unweighted average rate increase on Kansas' individual market is +8.3%, and it's +5.6% for the small group market, anyway.

It's worth noting that Sunflower State seems to be leaving the individual market and UnitedHealthcare appears to be dropping out of the Kansas small group market next year.

Iowa

(sigh) Unfortunately, the Iowa Insurance Department is pretty much useless when it comes to individual & small group market rate filing transparency. I can't find any press releases or statements about the 2022 rate filings, they don't list the 2022 Individual market filings at all, their Small Group market filing database is available but a year out of date, and they don't even list any of the ACA-compliant plan filings in the SERFF database.

The only way I was able to find the rate changes was by using the federal Rate Review website, and even then, the actuarial memos are all heavily redacted, making it impossible to know what the enrollment for each carrier si (with one exception: Wellmark Health Plan reported having 32,000 ACA-compliant individual market enrollees as of March 2021).

Indiana

The Indiana Insurance Dept. doesn't seem to have issued a formal press release about this (or if they did, I can't find it), but they've quietly posted their preliminary 2022 health insurance premium rate change requests for both the individual and small group markets:

The overall average rate increase for 2022 Indiana individual marketplace plans is -1.65%.

Anthem, CareSource , US Health and Life, and Celtic (MHS/Ambetter) have filed to participate in the 2022 Indiana Individual Marketplace.

Anthem has also filed to offer an Off-Marketplace catastrophic plan in Benton, Jasper, Newton, Warren and White Counties.

The IDOI will finalize the review of the 2022 ACA compliant filings both on and off the federal Marketplace by September 22, 2021.

It looks like US Health & Life is new to the Indiana individual market, while UnitedHealthcare of KY is new to the small group market. Unfortunately I couldn't find the actual small group enrollment number for either Physicians Health Plan or Southeastern Indiana Health on the sm. group market, and the IU Health Plan number is an estimate.

COVID-19

For nearly a year, I posted a weekly analysis of the 100 U.S. counties (out of over 3,100 total) which had the highest cumulative rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. In addition, I also included a running graph which compared the ratio of COVID cases & deaths per capita between blue and red counties to track how this changed over time.

The results were extremely telling: In the early days of the pandemic back in March/April 2020, the blue counties were devastated for a variety of reasons, including heavy population density, the fact they were mostly located along the coasts (usually in cities with major international ports/airport hubs), and so forth. Democrats tend to live in heavily-populated urban areas, while Republicans are prone to live in more sparsely-populated rural areas, so this made sense.

For the first few months, both case and death rates were running as much as 4-5x higher in counties which voted solidly for Hillary Clinton in 2016/Joe Biden in 2020 than in those which voted for Trump in either 2016 or 2020.

Idaho

Via the Idaho Insurance Dept:

Idaho Rate Review Individual

The Department of Insurance receives preliminary health plan information for the following year from insurance carriers by June 1 and reviews the proposed plan documents and rates for compliance with Idaho and federal regulations.The Department of Insurance does not have the authority to set or establish insurance rates, but it does have the authority to deem rate increases submitted by insurance companies as reasonable or unreasonable. After the review and negotiation process, the carriers submit their final rate increase information.The public is invited to provide comments on the rate changes. Please send any comments to Idaho Department of Insurance.

It's important to note that the rate changes on the actual tables posted on the Insurance Dept. site are rounded off to the nearest percentage. It's also important to note that when I click through to the actual rate filings and plug in the more exact averages along with the number of members to calculate the weighted average, I got slightly different numbers:

District of Columbia

via the DC Dept. of Insurance, Securities & Banking:

Information About Proposed Rates for January 2022 Health Plan Offerings on DC Health Link

This page contains proposed health plan rate information for the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link, for plan year 2022.

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) received 184 proposed health insurance plan rates for review from Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and United Healthcare in advance of open enrollment for plan year 2022 on DC Health Link, the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace.

The four insurance companies filed proposed rates for individuals, families and small businesses for the 2022 plan year. Overall, 184 plans were filed, compared to 188 last year. The number of small group plans decreased from 163 to 157, and the number of individual plans increased from 25 to 27.

Delaware

via the Delaware Insurance Dept:

Health Insurance rate filings are available for the companies listed below. Additional companies will be listed as their filings are received. Any insurance filings already approved are available to the public through the NAIC’s System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) interface. There is no fee for using SERFF. Rate info can also be accessed at the Rate Review page at Healthcare.gov

Highmark BCBSD Inc: (individual market)

Highmark DE is requesting an average plan level rate increase of 4.0% based on the projected enrollment mix by plan. The plan level rate changes will impact an estimated 26,568 current members. The rate change will vary by product ranging from a minimum of 1.7% to a maximum of 14.7%.

Connecticut

via the Connecticut Insurance Dept:

The Connecticut Insurance Department has posted the initial proposed health insurance rate filings for the 2022 individual and small group markets. There are 15 filings made by 11 health insurers for plans that currently cover approximately 222,700 people.

Anthem and ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. (CBI) have filed rates for both individual and small group plans that will be marketed through Access Health CT, the state-sponsored health insurance exchange. ConnectiCare Insurance Company, Inc. will begin participating on the exchange in the individual market effective 1/1/2022.

Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company began participating in the small group market 7/1/2021.

The 2022 rate proposals for the individual and small group market are on average higher than last year:

The proposed average individual rate request is an 8.6 percent increase, compared to 6.3 percent in 2021 and ranges from 5.1 percent to 12.3 percent.

CMS Logo

via CMS:

The Biden-Harris Administration is expanding the number of Navigator organizations to help people enroll in coverage through the Marketplace, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in 30 states with a Federally-Facilitated Marketplace. Through $80 million in grant awards for the 2022 plan year, 60 Navigator awardee organizations will be able to train and certify more than 1,500 Navigators to help uninsured consumers find affordable and comprehensive health coverage.

Maryland Health Connection

via Maryland Health Connection:

200,000 MARYLANDERS GAINED HEALTH COVERAGE THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL ENROLLMENT

  • Special enrollment in response to pandemic ran from March 2020 to August 2021

(BALTIMORE) — A total of 201,141 Marylanders enrolled through the Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment on Maryland Health Connection from March 16, 2020 to its conclusion on Aug. 15, 2021.

The numbers here are certainly good news and pretty impressive, but it's really, really important to keep that start date in mind when looking at them.

The 17-month special enrollment in response to the pandemic was one of the longest of any state in the country. It was extended several times in 2020 and 2021 as the emergency continued. In all:

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