Here we go again!
Every May, health insurance companies file their requests for premium increases for next year’s plans.
I’ve been watching my state’s website for the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Rate increases for all health plans—group, small business, and individual (both on and off the health exchange)—are posted for public review and comment.
The insurance commissioner has until late summer to either approve, disapprove or modify the increase. Insurance companies are required to give their subscribers a 90-day notice of any premium increases.
My insurance company is asking for a 9.6% rate hike. Our family’s premium will go up by about $100/month.
Do you know if your insurance company has asked for a premium increase? Check out this website to learn how to contact the Insurance Commissioner in your state.
News media are reporting on premium increases across the country. The highest I’ve seen so far is in Oregon state where LifeWise (an Anthem Blue Cross company) is requesting a rate hike of 37.8%! Wow. Also in Oregon, Moda Health is seeking an average 25.6% increase.
Rate hikes over 10% have to be evaluated by an “independent panel of experts” as per the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
All companies have to provide financial disclosures to support the proposed premium increases.
My insurance company, Premera Blue Cross, submitted the following information:
- Premiums collected in 2014: $338,604,798
- Claims paid out in 2014: $295,793,662
- Administrative costs in 2014: $46,294,862
- Net loss in 2014: -$3,294,862
- Expected annual medical cost increase: 7.68%
In other words, they paid out more than they took in, and they expect medical costs to climb again next year.
Health care costs are not going down, so we cannot reasonably expect our premiums to go down, either.
If you don’t want to be blindsided by your annual rate increase this year, go to your Insurance Commissioner’s website or call your Insurance Commissioner’s office to get the information. And don’t forget to leave a comment! Let your Insurance Commissioner know how higher premiums are affecting you and your family.