Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kansas Insurance Department completes review of individual federal marketplace health premium rates

TOPEKA, KAN. ---- After three months of review and discussions with Kansas health insurance companies, the Kansas Insurance Department announced today the completion of the rate review process for companies planning to sell individual health plans on the 2016 federal marketplace in Kansas.

The range of average rate revisions by insurance companies for individual plans is from 9.4 percent to 25.4 percent, which is less than the increases originally requested in May, according to Ken Selzer, CPA, Commissioner of Insurance.

Less than five percent of Kansans are affected by the rate revisions, both on and off the marketplace, according to department statistics.

“Many factors contributed to the need for rate increases in 2016,” Commissioner Selzer said. “Guaranteed issue of policies, broad coverage requirements and other federal mandates continue to drive up health insurance costs in Kansas and throughout the country. Additional factors pushing rates up include changes in pharmacy costs and medical costs.”

Additionally, a new company entrant, UnitedHealthcare of the Midwest, Inc., has proposed plans to be sold on the marketplace in 2016. Also proposing to sell on the marketplace are Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City; Coventry Health & Life Insurance Company; Coventry Health Care of Kansas, Inc.; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas; and BlueCross BlueShield Kansas Solutions, Inc.

These private companies also sell plans outside the government website.

“During the review process our department was able to lower many of the rate increase requests for 2016, saving significant money for Kansas consumers compared to the original requests,” Commissioner Selzer said. “We worked to find the balance between company claims trends and the need to hold down consumer costs.”

This is the first time since the federal marketplace began that insurance companies have had a full year of claims experience on which to base their premium rate revisions. In almost every case, the claims experience has been worse than anticipated, the Commissioner said.

For 2016, a total of 96 plans have been proposed for sale during open enrollment for the Kansas federally-facilitated online marketplace. That number includes 74 individual plans, an increase of 10 individual plan choices from 2015.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2015, for the 2016 calendar year.