Business, Health, Politics

Gov. Hogan announces 2nd consecutive decrease in health insurance premiums

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday announced that the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) has approved an average 10.3% premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans with an effective date of January 1, 2020. This means that, for the second consecutive year, all individual insurance rates in Maryland will see important decreases.

The new rates reflect the impact of the State Reinsurance Program, which has helped to lower rates and stabilize the individual health insurance market after years of major premium increases. Coupled with last year’s decrease of 13.2%, the two-year cumulative impact is a rate decrease of more than 22% versus 2018 premiums.

“By addressing this crisis head-on, we have gone from an individual market on the brink of collapse to two straight years of lower premiums for Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Last year, after we refused to accept Washington’s failure to act, we came together to deliver lower rates for the first time in more than a decade. Our innovative program to make healthcare more affordable for Marylanders serves as a model for the rest of the nation.”

In 2018, facing predicted health insurance rate increases of up to 50%, the Hogan administration worked in bipartisan fashion with legislative leaders to develop legislation establishing a state reinsurance program. The legislation directed the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to submit a State Innovation Waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the U.S. Secretaries of Health, Human Services, and Treasury to establish the program. The legislation combined with this waiver set up a reinsurance pool to provide funding for catastrophic claims for policyholders in the individual market.

“After years of devastating rate increases, it is certainly gratifying to see our individual market begin to stabilize,” said Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. “The approved rates have improved over what was originally proposed, due to the hard work of our Chief Actuary and his team, as well as the collaborative work of the insurer’s actuarial teams. We are hopeful that those Marylanders that continue to go uninsured will investigate the benefits and federal subsidies that may be available to them.”

To assist the administration in making its rate decision, MIA actuaries reviewed the data, methodologies, and assumptions companies used to develop their proposed premium rates. The MIA also considered public comments, along with other relevant factors, in determining whether to approve, modify or deny requested rates.

The MIA has approved the following rate increases in the individual market:

Company Name Type of Network Members as of 07/31/19 2020 Filed Renewal 2020 Approved Renewal Difference (Approved – Filed)
CareFirst Blue Choice, Inc. HMO 108,301 -8.9% -14.7% -5.8%
CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst Companies) PPO 11,493 +9.1% -1.4% -10.5%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. HMO 70,686 +3.9% -5.0% -8.9%
TOTAL   190,480 -3.1% -10.3% -7.2%

The MIA has approved the following rate increases in the small group market:

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Company Name Type of Network Members as of 07/31/19 2020 Filed Renewal (All Quarters) 2020 Approved Renewal (All Quarters) Difference (Approved – Filed)
Aetna Health, Inc. HMO 166 +14.9% +1.0% -13.9%
Aetna Life Insurance Co. PPO 629 +13.9% +1.2% -12.7%
CareFirst Blue Choice, Inc. HMO 168,248 0.0% +0.5% +0.5%
CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst companies) PPO 22,158 +8.1% +7.4% -0.7%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. HMO 10,344 +10.2% +10.2% 0.0%
UnitedHealthCare of the Mid-Atlantic HMO 5,079 +7.9% 0.0% -7.9%
Optimum Choice (a UHC company) HMO 17,205 +13.3% +9.4% -3.9%
MAMSI Life and Health Insurance Co. (a UHC company) EPO 21,092 +13.7% +8.3% -5.4%
UnitedHealthCare Insurance Co. PPO 23,895 +12.2% +5.4% -6.8%
TOTAL   268,816 +4.3% +3.0% -1.3%

 

Summaries of each rate decision are available on the MIA’s rate review website at www.HealthRates.mdinsurance.state.md.us. Sample approved 2020 premium rates for all companies by geographic region also are available on that website. The sample rates do not reflect any employer contribution, any financial assistance a consumer may receive to reduce premiums or cost-sharing for plans purchased through the state’s health insurance marketplace, www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov.

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