Three state insurance commissioners gave three different forecasts for how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) might affect commercial health insurance rates in 2016.
The House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee brought Mike Kreidler of Washington state, Al Redmer Jr. of Maryland and Julie McPeak of Tennessee in to talk about what they’re seeing out in the field.
Most health insurers in most states have already filed their individual and small-group 2016 rate filings.
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For a look at some of what the regulators said at the hearing, based on written versions of the testimony posted on the committee website, read on.
1. Mike Kreidler
Kreidler, who is regarded as a supporter of PPACA and the PPACA public exchange system, said the new PPACA underwriting rules, programs and subsidies have helped reduce the number of uninsured people living in his state 40 percent since the end of 2013.
“People have access to meaningful coverage that provides critical services when and if they need them,” Kreidler said.
Rate increase requests are at record lows, with insurers in the individual market asking for an average increase of just 5.4 percent for 2016, Kreidler said. He said about 3 percentage points of that increase is due to an assessment that will be used to cover the cost of exchange operations.
Before the PPACA changes took effect, the state had 11 health insurers in the market, Kreidler said. Today, he said, the state has filings from 17 insurers that want to sell coverage in the state in 2016.
“We are still reviewing these but it is clear that consumers will have additional choices,” he said.
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2. Al Redmer Jr.
Redmer presented a table showing the requested rate changes for 2016 which range from a reduction of 3.2 percent to an increase of 30.4 percent in his state’s individual market, and from a reduction of 16.6 percent to an increase of 14.8 percent in his state’s small-group market.
Some insurers are seeing an increase in morbidity as high as 15 percent, and the increase in medical trend, or the underlying cost of care, ranges from 3.5 percent to 7 percent, he said.