On the Public Health Insurance Marketplaces: Developments Weeks of 7/22 and 7/29

August 8, 2013

The opening date for the exchanges inches closer and the states continue to make announcements regarding the carriers, plans, and rates on their exchanges. Advertising and outreach campaigns are also swinging into high gear across the nation, hoping to raise awareness and promote participation. The State Exchange Table summarizes the latest information on carrier participation and plan rates as they occur.

Latest Developments:

State Run Exchanges-

California: California’s largest health insurer for small businesses, Anthem Blue Cross, says it will not be participating on the state’s small business marketplace this fall. Because it is no longer a condition for insurance companies to participate on both the small business and the individual marketplaces, Anthem has chosen to sell only on the individual market.

Last Thursday, California released rates on its small business health insurance exchange. Average premiums for a 40 year old employee in the Los Angeles area could fall by as much as 17%.

To get a comprehensive look at California’s rates, pricing regions, and participating insurers, click here

DC: Another insurer, Kaiser Permanente, announces dropped rates on the DC exchange. This makes three out of four carriers on the DC exchange with lowered rates since preliminary rates were announced last month. Rates will decrease by 4.4 percent for small-business employees and half a percent for individuals.

Idaho: Nine insurers will sell medical and dental plans on the Idaho health insurance exchange. Altius Health Plans, Blue Cross of Idaho, BridgeSpan Health Company, PacificSource Health Plans and SelectHealth will sell medical plans on the exchange. BEST Life and Health Insurance Company, Blue Cross of Idaho, Delta Dental of Idaho, Dentegra Insurance Company, PacificSource Health Plans and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America will sell dental.

Maryland: Rates on the Maryland exchange have been reduced by as much as 33%. The new rates will bring costs down, and monthly premiums for a 25-year-old nonsmoker buying a “bronze plan” in the Baltimore area will range from $131 to $237. For a 50-year-old nonsmoker buying a silver plan, prices range from $267 to $470 per month.

Washington: Four insurers have been approved to sell plans on Washington’s state exchange. BridgeSpan Health Company (an affiliate of Cambia Health Solutions, the parent company of Regence BlueShield), Group Health Cooperative, Lifewise Health Plan of Washington and Premera Blue Cross will sell plans on the individual marketplace. Rates on the marketplace may cost more than plans available today, but residents are expected to gain increased choice. A single 40-year-old non-smoker in King County could pay premiums ranging from $213 a month to $351. A 21-year-old single non-smoker could pay from $166 to $274, and a similar 60-year-old from $451 to $744 a month.

Partnership Exchanges-

Delaware: Delaware has approved three insurance companies to sell plans on its health insurance exchange. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coventry Health and Life Insurance, and Coventry Health Care of Delaware will sell plans whose premium rates will be announced next month.

Federally Facilitated Exchanges-

Florida: Rates on the Florida exchange are expected to rise by 5 to 20 percent for small businesses and 20 to 30 percent on the individual marketplace. Average state-wide silver level plan premiums range from $315-$464.

Georgia: Two health insurance companies, Aetna and Coventry, have exited Georgia’s federally facilitated exchange. There are still five remaining carriers offering plans on the state’s exchange.

Indiana: Premium rates on Indiana’s exchange will jump by as much as 72% and could reach up to $570 for the most comprehensive plans. Although plans on the Indiana exchange are not “cheap,” the numbers are not outrageous, as they largely align with the rest of the nation’s rates. Estimates indicate that 45 percent of Indiana’s enrollees will pick bronze and 38 percent take up a silver plan. Although Indiana has not released information on metal-level premiums, estimates project that a 47-year-old male who does not smoke would be charged, on average, $307 per month. Sample plans from another plan, MDWise, predict a 47-year-old man will be charged $294 and $391 for a bronze and silver plan respectively.

Maine: Unlike many states that are launching high powered advertising efforts (California, Oregon, Vermont), Maine does not have any plans to market or advertise the Affordable Care Act this fall. The state has granted $2 million to community groups and health centers to promote and educate citizens about the health care law, but is taking a “hands-off” approach when it comes to advertising and wide outreach efforts.

Mississippi: Insurance carrier Humana announced that it will provide coverage options in 36 Mississippi counties that would have otherwise been left out of the exchange. Mississippi is home to some of the poorest and sickest populations in the nation, and the agreement with Humana guarantees that all counties in the state will have at least one company offering insurance on its exchange.

North Carolina: Three insurance companies will sell plans on the North Carolina state exchange: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas and First Carolina Care Insurance Co. The state has approved plan rates for the three companies but has chosen not to publically release rate information until the exchanges go live in October.

Ohio: Ohio announced yesterday that the premiums on its federally facilitated exchange will jump by as much as 40%. This substantial rate increase announcement has been refuted by democratic lawmakers as incomplete. Ohio chose to take the average prices of gold and platinum plans that the majority of Ohioans won’t purchase. They also didn’t take into account tax credits provided by the federal government to ease the cost of insurance. The Ohio Insurance Department says the average premium in the individual market is currently $236.29 per month. The new average under the health care law will be $336.44, the department says.

South Dakota: Three insurers will sell plans on South Dakota’s health insurance exchange. Avera Health Plans Inc., Sanford Health Plan and South Dakota State Medical Holding Company, Inc. (DAKOTACARE) will sell plans on both the individual and small business (SHOP) marketplaces. The three insurers will offer a total of 56 plans. An average 21 year old could expect to pay $182 for a catastrophic plan, $305 for a silver plan or $333 for a premium platinum plan. An average 40 year old could pay $390 for a silver level plan and $405 for a platinum plan. And an average 60 year old could pay $830 for a silver plan and $860 for a premium level plan.

Virginia: Virginia will spend the second lowest amount per capita on education and outreach efforts for the Affordable Care Act’s state exchange. The $3.9 million in spending amounts to only 49 cents per resident. The only state spending less is Wisconsin, which is spending 46 cents per person. The overall trend shows that states opting for federally facilitated exchanges and those that are especially resistant to the health care law are receiving less in federal grant money. Private organizations and non-profit groups will provide additional outreach money and materials to Virginians to help get them enrolled in October.

Click here to view the consolidated information on the State Exchange Table

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