“The 2020 rate requests are particularly good news for those in Maryland's individual market," said Consumer Health First President, Beth Sammis. She went on to cite the positive impact of Maryland's reinsurance program in an article in the Baltimore Sun.
The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) expects to issue its final rate decisions by mid-September. There will be a public meeting on July 16, 2019 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the MIA. Consumer Health First will be there to provide our analysis of the rates. The public can attend that and also provide comments in advance on specific carriers' requested rates by going here.
Carriers proposed the following average rate changes in the individual market:
CareFirst BlueChoice Inc. HMO – a -8.9% decrease;
CareFirst of Maryland Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services Inc. (GHMSI) (both CareFirst companies) PPO – a +9.1% increase;
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States HMO – a +3.9% increase
In response to these requests, Consumer Health First President, Beth Sammis stated that:
“The proposed rate filings for 2020 for the individual market bring another year of good news for consumers. CareFirst is proposing to further decrease its premiums for its HMO plans and Kaiser proposes an increase far below what it is asking for in the small group market (3.9 vs 10 percent). During the rate review process, we’ll want to see the estimates CareFirst and Kaiser used for the reinsurance program to be sure both have included the full value of this program in their rates.
The exhibits demonstrate a membership increase of 13.4 percent in the individual market this year in comparison to 2018. Moreover, one-third of all those in the individual market bought a gold plan this year suggesting consumers took advantage of the premium decreases to lower their out-of-pocket costs.
The reinsurance program has demonstrated it is possible to stabilize and grow this market. As we move forward, Consumer Health First will press policymakers to consider other opportunities for keeping the individual market stable and vibrant once the reinsurance program ends in 2023. We see the most hope in a public option through a Medicaid Buy-In program.
Today, though, we must congratulate the Governor, the General Assembly, the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange, and the Insurance Commissioner for implementing the reinsurance program and celebrate the gains Maryland has made to stabilize and grow the individual market.”