As insurers request big rate hikes, AHIP touts reinsurance, tax suspension
Trade association America's Health Insurance Plans is pushing for states to set up reinsurance programs and Congress to kill the industry's loathed health insurance tax as insurers file for big premium increases on several Obamacare exchanges.Those two actions, according to the insurance industry's largest lobbying group, could help mitigate the myriad factors threatening to send individual market premiums higher in 2019. State insurance departments in Maryland, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia have released insurers' proposed 2019 rates, which vary widely but are consistently high across most health plans. Requested rates in Oregon, where seven insurers filed to sell plans on the individual market next year, ranged from a decrease of 9.6% compared with 2018 rates to an increase of 16.3%. Vermont's two insurers requested increases of 7.5% and 10.9%. Plans filed in Maryland proposed increases ranging from 18.5% to a whopping 91.4% for the Blues-affiliated insurer CareFirst's PPO plan. And in Virginia, rates varied drastically from a requested decrease of 1.9% to a hike of 64.3% for 2019 coverage. Insurers in other states will be finalizing their proposed rates over the next few months before the fifth Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins Nov. 1. AHIP, which counts exchange insurers Centene Corp. and Cigna Corp. as members, said in an issue brief that medical price inflation, higher prescription drug prices, the repeal of the individual insurance mandate and proposed federal regulations to expand association health plans and short-term plans are the main factors leading to higher premiums in 2019.
|Factors Affecting Premiums in the 2019 Individual Exchange Marketplace||Estimated Premium Impact|
|Increases in medical trendâincluding medical price inflation and prescription drug cost increases||Increase 5.7%-6.5%|
|Elimination of individual mandate penalty||Increase 9%-10%|
|Expanded association health plans||Increase 2.7%-4.0%|
|Expanded short-term, limited duration plans||Increase 0.7%-1.7%|
|Incorporate moratorium on health insurer tax for 2019 into individual market rates||Reduce 3%|
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