The Maryland Insurance Administration released preliminary rate proposals for 2019 this afternoon. The rates of most concern are those for consumers for plans sold in Maryland’s “Individual Non-Medigap” (INM) market on the ACA Exchange. The rates submitted by the carriers for the INM market do not include any impacts from a reinsurance program.
House Bill 1795 of the 2018 Legislative Session authorized the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, to establish and implement a State Reinsurance Program. The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange anticipates submitting a 1332 State Innovation Waiver on May 20, 2018 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting a state-based reinsurance program. A 30-day public comment period for the waiver application began on April 20, 2018 and will close May 20. CHF will be submitting comments and welcomes signatories. Please contact us if you wish to see a copy of our draft comments.
If CMS approves the waiver, then rate filings will be resubmitted and an additional public hearing will be held.
Consumer Health First has issued a press release regarding the proposed rates, and CHF President Beth Sammis has said:
“We have analyzed the market and strongly believe that implementing a state reinsurance program should result in an across the board decrease of at least 30 percent in rates for both HMO and preferred provider coverages. Such a reduction would bring the rates for CareFirst’s HMO below the rates for 2018 and sharply reduce Kaiser’s Permanente's proposed premium increase – a big win for consumers.
“We caution consumers to remember that the requested rate increases are not final. If the state reinsurance program is authorized by the federal government and implemented in Maryland, consumers will see more affordable premiums in the individual market for the first time in many years.
Under the current proposed rates, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates an average of 18.5% on its HMO products and an average 91.4% on its PPO products, which tend to cover a sicker population. Kaiser Permanente asked to raise its rates an average of 37.4%.
Overall, the average increase is 30.2% above last year's rates, as described by the Baltimore Busines Journal.
A complete list of all proposed rates for 2019 can be found on the MIA Website.