Dave Dillon, a health insurance actuary who did a good job a year ago predicting what the 2017 individual health insurance market would be like, now says it’s too soon to know what products will be on the shelves in 2018.
Dillon, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries who produces health market podcasts for the SOA, said Wednesday in an interview that he thinks there are possible reasons for cautious optimism if market rules and programs stay reasonably stable, along with obvious reasons for concern if the parameters change dramatically, or if the parameters continue to be unclear.
(Related: ACA World 2017: Rates might not be THAT bad)
Health insurers are busy developing 2018 product filings, both for the Medicare Advantage market and the commercial health insurance market, Dillon said.
For health insurance actuaries, “it’s all hands on deck,” Dillon said.
Dillon, who helps state insurance regulators review major medical filings and helps insurers develop filings for other types of products, warned against expecting to see a strong supply of individual commercial major medical products available in 2018 simply because many carriers submit initial product filings.
Depending on what Congress and the courts do, many carriers could submit product filings early on, then announce later that they will withdraw from the market, Dillon said.
Here are more highlights from the interview.
Crystal ball (Photo: Thinkstock)
1. The individual market may have done reasonably well in 2016.
Dillon said he has tried to get a sense of how individual products really did last year by reviewing the results posted by some Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.
“I was a little pleasantly surprised by the loss ratios,” Dillon said. “The market didn’t look quite as bad as I might have feared.”
Some carriers did poorly, but typical ratios of claims to premiums, or medical loss ratios, were under about 83%, Dillon said.
Enrollment held up well, in spite of rate increases, he added.
2. The underlying trends could lead to 2018 increases that are ugly, but not catastrophic.
The underlying medical cost trend could lead to an increase of 6% to 10%, and the ACA health insurance tax could add about 2% to premiums, Dillon estimated.