Approximately 4.1% of Marylanders are enrolled in small group plans. In the small group market, the health insurance rates will increase by an average of 3.3%.
Approximately 4.4% of Marylanders are enrolled in individual health plans. In the individual market health insurers have sought rate adjustments in response to significant changes in federal regulation and market dynamics over the past three years. The increases in the individual plans ranged from a low of 10% for Kaiser, to 31.4% for CareFirst, with an overall average rate increase of more than 20%.
Consumer Health First appreciates the open, thorough and fair rate review process overseen by Maryland’s Insurance Commissioner, Al Redmer, Jr. However, we are extremely disappointed by the significant increases approved for 2017 health insurance rates, particularly for CareFirst.
While we recognize that CareFirst lost money in the individual market last year, its proposed rate increases are based to a large extent on CareFirst’s assumption that underlying health care costs will increase by almost 10 percent annually in 2017. That is unreasonable, and it is inconsistent with CareFirst’s own data. Moreover, the steep increases approved for CareFirst will just make it more likely that healthier individuals will not buy health insurance next year either on or off the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. We believe that Commissioner Redmer could have lowered CareFirst’s proposed increase to a more reasonable and affordable level.
To read the entire press release issued by Consumer Health First - click here.