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Cigna, United plan to sell individual plans on Md. exchange in 2015


By Paul Demko
Posted: June 6, 2014 - 7:15 pm ET
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Proposed 2015 premiums for individual and small-group health plans on Maryland's insurance exchange range from a decrease of 12.1% to an increase of 30.2%.

In addition, two national insurers, Cigna Corp. and UnitedHealth Group, are planning to sell individual plans on the state's exchange for the first time.

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At least 10 states now have released some 2015 rate filings. As in other states, the proposed changes by health plans competing on Maryland's exchange vary significantly. CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proposing the steepest hikes compared with 2014 rates. In six filings for exchange plans, both individual and small group, the insurer's average proposed premium hikes range from 5.7% to 30.2%.

By contrast, two insurers—Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States and Evergreen Health Cooperative—are planning significant reductions in premiums on individual plans for the second year of exchange operations. Kaiser wants to drop rates by an average of 12.1%, while Evergreen is proposing a 10.3% reduction.

Evergreen is a new, consumer-governed co-op insurer seeded with a federal loan. The startup has struggled to attract customers in its first year of operations in part because of Maryland's dysfunctional exchange website. Maryland is in the process of rebuilding its exchange using technology created by Connecticut, which had one of the most successful open enrollment periods in the country.

The proposed rate filings will be reviewed by Maryland regulators. The Maryland Insurance Administration anticipates releasing final rates in late summer.

Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko


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