Health insurance companies seeking 22.3% average individual increases in 2017 in Kentucky

Increases range from 7.6% to 33.7%

By Kentucky Health News

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 25, 2016) — Health insurance companies are seeking rate increases averaging 22.3 percent in 2017 for individual policies on the health-insurance exchange created by federal health reform.

InsurancefilingsMay2016cThe average requested increases for individual policies range from 7.6 percent for Aetna Health Inc. to 33.7 percent for Humana Inc., which said recently that it was losing money on exchange plans. Baptist Health Plan wants 26.68 percent more, Anthem Health Plans 22.9 percent, and CareSource 20.55 percent, all on average.

“The Department of Insurance will fully investigate all proposed rate increase requests to make sure they are warranted,” Commissioner Brian Maynard said in a release. “Insurance rate increases are not specific to Kentucky; states across the nation are dealing with this issue.”

The department said some of the rate increases “appear to be attributed to the failure of the Kentucky Health Cooperative Inc.,” a non-profit that was created under federal health reform but not fully funded by Congress. “The co-op went bankrupt and was placed into liquidation earlier this year, leaving other insurance companies to cover the more than 51,000 former co-op customers,” the department noted. “Many of those customers were high-risk, and Kentucky’s remaining insurers appear to project that those high-risk customers will affect the risk pool.”

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said recently that it would stop selling exchange policies in Kentucky, leaving many counties with only one insurer on the exchange. The only company that seeks to sell individual policies statewide is Anthem.

However, Indianapolis-based Golden Rule Insurance Co. will sell “in all counties off the exchange,” the department said. “Some consumers will be able to select from as many as five carriers both on and off the exchange.” Golden Rule, which still won’t sell exchange policies, is seeking a rate increase of 65 percent.

Anthem, Aenta and Baptist will also offer non-exchange policies. Aetna plans to sell in only 10 counties: Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Campbell, Boone, Oldham, Trimble, Henry, Owen and Madison. Baptist will sell in 38 counties off the exchange and 20 on the exchange. Humana will sell on the exchange in nine counties (Bourbon, Bullitt, Clark, Fayette, Jefferson, Jessamine, Oldham, Scott and Woodford) and off the exchange in nine (Boone, Bullitt, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Jefferson, Kenton, Oldham and Pendleton). CareSource will sell in 61 counties, all on the exchange.

An Excel spreadsheet listing the policies for each county is available at www.uky.edu/comminfostudies/irjci/Kyhealthinsbycounty2017.xlsx. The filings are online at insurance.ky.gov/ratefil/default.aspx. Rates must be approved within 60 days of each filing, or no later than July 11.

The administration of Gov. Matt Bevin is dismantling the Kynect health-insurance exchange and will use the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, as a portal for enrollment in exchange policies.

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