Health insurers seek rate increases in Maryland as United Healthcare quits market
...United Healthcare, the nation's largest insurer but a bit player in Maryland, was not included on a list released Friday by state regulators of companies seeking rate increases for 2017.
Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer confirmed that the company was leaving the exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, as it has in most states across the country. It will continue to offer plans in the small-business market.
A couple of days ago I noted that after two years of nothing but doom & gloom (and coming just a week after UnitedHealthcare pulled the plug on the individual market in over two dozen states) there seems to finally be some positive developments, with companies like Centene and Anthem reporting better-than-expected results. They may not be making a profit yet, but at least they aren't losing money hand over fist the way they did the first couple of years.
I also made a brief mention of the Maryland Co-Op, Evergreen Health, which reported their first quarterly profit since launching 2 1/2 years ago.
Consumer operated and oriented health plans in Maryland, New Mexico and Massachusetts will report profits in the first quarter, in a sign that some of the remaining Affordable Care Act-created nonprofits could be finding their footing on the state exchanges.
A few months ago I noted that while UnitedHealthcare and some other carriers may be losing money hand over fist on the ACA exchanges, at least some of them are making a profit, breaking even or at least cutting their losses down to a reasonable level.
As a simple reminder, competitive markets should see some companies make money and some companies that offer more expensive and less attractive products lose money. I would be extremely worried if everyone was making money after three years, just like I would be extremely worried that everyone was losing money after three years of increasingly better data.
In a classic case of missing the forest for the trees, I posted two very wonky, detailed entries over the past couple of days about Minnesota and Connecticut's latest enrollment numbers...but completely missed one crucially important data point.
As of 2/1, total QHPs are 165,123 (49,377 new + 115,746 renewal-active and passive).
However, this number didn't include a few "overtime" days of enrollees, which padded the number a bit more...nor did it include the subtraction of unpaid QHP enrollees (ie, cancellations/purging of enrollees who didn't pay their January premiums in time, were transferred to Medicaid due to income changes and so forth).
I'm surprised by this for several reasons. The snowstorm was nearly a week ago, and there's still 3 days left for people to enroll as it is; are there still a lot of areas of Maryland coping with power outages/other disruptions which are making it unreasonable to expect people to get in under the wire?
Second, because CMS just stated pretty unequivocally that HealthCare.Gov will not be offering any official deadline extension (although, like the MD exchange, they did say that they'll have an "in line by midnight" exception). I assumed that if HC.gov was taking a "hard line stance" that the state exchanges would as well.
Just now, they confirmed the latest numbers ahead of Sunday's final deadline:
As of 1/26, 156,695 QHP / 304,667 Medicaid / 25,784 Dental.
I've never really tracked dental plans, and I'll be writing about the latest Medicaid numbers later, but that's 156,695 QHPs as of 1/26, or 994 more in the past 6 days, or 166 per day.
This is actually a slowdown from MD's average from 12/28 - 1/20, when they reported a net gain of 5,408 over 23 days (235 per day). On the other hand, given how much Maryland has been kicking butt this year, perhaps they're just running out of people to, you know, enroll.
Anyway, MD is on track to add at least another 1,000, potentially up to 3,000 more for a final number close to 160K.
Maryland had previously reported just over 150,000 QHPs as of 12/28/15, so this sounds about right: Around 5,000 more people in the first 3 weeks of January, with 10 days left to go (I'm not sure what date the 155K figure is through, I'll assume that's as of last night). That's roughly 220 per day.
Assuming no final week surge of any sort, Maryland should add roughly 2,200 more people by the 31st, but I'm guessing it'll be closer to another 5K, for perhaps 160K in the end.
Back on December 17, I noted that the Maryland ACA exchange had managed (with the help of automatic renewals) to achieve just under 150,000 QHP selections as of 12/15...which happened to be both their and my projected target for the full 2016 Open Enrollment Period. This was excellent for two reasons: They had effectively hit the target (well, 149,765, anyway)...and had done so with nearly 7 weeks to go.
1) More than 382,000 Marylanders have gotten coverage since Open Enrollment started.
As of Dec. 28, 362,520 Marylanders enrolled in health coverage for 2016, including 71,055 Marylanders who chose a new Qualified Health Plan, and 79,238 people already enrolled who renewed their plan for next year. This also includes 212,227 Marylanders who enrolled in Medicaid coverage through the state marketplace since Nov. 1.
In other words, like Massachusetts, Maryland has already hit the target for the 2016 Open Enrollment just halfway through the period. The difference is that Massachusetts never really issued their own formal target (well, OK, technically Maryland needs 235 more people...)
With two weeks to go before the Dec. 15 deadline for full 2016 health coverage, 31,740 people have enrolled in private health plans through Maryland Health Connection as of Dec. 1.
About 71 percent, or 22,477, were enrolled in silver plans, which provide savings in the form of advance premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for those eligible to lower their cost..
In total, 139,244Marylanders have enrolled in coverage through the state’s health insurance marketplace since open enrollment began on Nov. 1. That includes 107,504 enrolled in Medicaid, which accepts applicants year-round.
Also, 8,880 individuals have enrolled in dental plans which are available for the first time through MarylandHealthConnection.gov for 2016. Of those, 4,022 people enrolled in dental along with a qualified health plan (QHP), 2,756 enrolled in dental along with Medicaid and 2,102 enrolled in a stand-alone dental plan.