‘Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for next year will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums, according to rate proposals unveiled Monday by the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.
The rate proposals affect all Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans on the individual market, whether they’re sold through the federally-run exchange or not. Small and large group health plans typically offered by employers were not included in the data released by the state.
Fourteen companies filed ACA-compliant plans for Florida’s 2015 individual market, including three new companies that did not participate on the federally-run exchange last year.
Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent, the state’s insurance regulator reported.’
‘About 893,000 people or 91 percent of Floridians who bought coverage on the exchange also receive a federal subsidy to lower their share of the premium, according to federal data.
According to the state report released Monday, most insurers propose double-digit premium increases, including the state's largest health insurer, Florida Blue, which announced last week that premiums would increase by an average of 17.6 percent for its exchange plans.
Health First Insurance, which sold 15 types of plans on the ACA exchange in 2014, proposed an average increase of 23 percent for its PPOs plans next year — the highest jump of all companies offering coverage on the individual market, according to the state.
Humana, which offers 35 plans on the ACA exchange, proposed increasing average monthly premiums for its HMO by about 14 percent.
Nancy Hanewinckel, a Humana spokeswoman, said in a written statement that the proposed increases were “primarily driven by underlying cost of services, including physician and provider fees; health care utilization; and increased prescription drug costs, particularly the fast-growing use of high-cost specialty medications, such as Sovaldi for Hepatitis C.’’
Joe Mondy, a spokesman for Cigna, said the company’s proposed 17 percent rate increase was “based on our customers’ 2014 early clinical experience and claims payments, expected medical trend, along with other factors such as the phase out of the government reinsurance program and expectations on the changing risk pool in 2015.’’
Most insurers echoed the explanations from Cigna and Humana — attributing increases to higher-than-expected health costs as a result of attracting customers who previously lacked coverage and are using more services than expected.
They also blamed regulations mandated under the health law, which forbids insurance companies from denying people with pre-existing conditions, limits the amount that they can charge their oldest members, and no longer allows them to charge more for women than men.
A dearth of young and healthy enrollees also has contributed to the increases, Florida Blue officials said last week. About 30 percent of the 984,000 Floridians who signed up for a plan on the exchange is younger than 35, according to federal data.’ - Proposed prices for health plans in 2015 unveiled, Miamiherald.com, 08/04/2014
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