Maybe some public exchange plan issuer is cutting rates 50 percent in 2015, and throwing in a free nose piercing. Maybe some other exchange plan issuer is raising rates 50 percent, and trying to improve its risk profile by cutting out all of the endocrinologists with offices that smell good.
So, what are the issuers that consumers and producers actually care about doing?
We tried to answer that question by looking at the 2015 individual health rate moves announced by major exchange plan issuers and other major individual health policy issuers. When possible, we used exchange data to identify the exchange market leaders. When that was not feasible, we used Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation data to identify the gorillas.
The outcome: The gorillas are preparing to raise individual exchange qualified health plan (QHP) rates substantially in 2015, and they are more than twice as likely to be pulling rates in their state up than to be pushing rates down.
We found preliminary 2015 individual exchange QHP rates for gorilla issuers in 19 states. The changes proposed range from a 3.06 percent decrease in Kentucky, for WellPoint’s Anthem unit, to a 30.2 percent increase in Maryland, for CareFirst.
But the idea that a significant number of the gorillas are cutting 2015 rates is wrong: 17 of the states are proposing rate increases, not cuts. The median proposed increase is in Indiana. There, Anthem has proposed a 9.65 percent increase.
We have a table giving the gorillas’ preliminary rate change proposals, along with links to sources of individual QHP rate information, at the end of this article.
See also: Actuaries prep for rate filing season.
Where is that gorilla going?
Another way to think about the gorillas’ rates is to look at whether those issuers seem to be pushing exchange QHP rates down, by proposing 2015 changes at or near the low end for an exchange, or pulling rates up, by proposing changes at or near the high end. Gorillas in four states – Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi and Iowa – seem to be pulling rates down. Gorillas in nine states seem to be pushing rates up.
Why is 800-pound gorilla 2015 rate information so hard to find?