COVID-19 more likely to make medical health insurance costlier for a lot of in Maryland – Baltimore Sun


Individuals who buy their very own medical health insurance in Maryland may find again that they need to pay more next yr, likely because of costs from the coronavirus pandemic.

The three carriers offering policies on Maryland’s health exchange or on to consumers under the Inexpensive Care Act requested rate increases from state insurance regulators averaging 11%.

“It is obvious from our ongoing monitoring of industry experience that 2021 claims were heavily influenced by COVID-19, and that the numerous differences between where we were in 2021 and where we’re more likely to be in 2023 should be modeled and brought under consideration in rate development,” said Kathleen Birrane, the state’s insurance commissioner, in a press release.

The Maryland Insurance Administration will review the requests and set rates in September for the insurance, also referred to as Obamacare.

Greater than 222,000 individuals bought coverage on the Maryland exchange or through the insurers this yr, with near 80% tapping subsidies to assist pay premiums. Most aren’t offered insurance by their employers.

Tens of 1000’s of Marylanders gained insurance during special enrollment periods for individuals who lost insurance in the course of the pandemic. More people were added in the course of the pandemic to the rolls of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income residents.

Some now risk being faraway from Medicaid as officials resume checking whether participants remain qualified, a practice that was suspended in the course of the pandemic health emergency.

Federal subsidies added to non-public plans in the course of the pandemic also will expire by the top of the yr if Congress doesn’t renew them, though most individuals will retain aid to purchase their plans.

There are about 1.2 million Marylanders enrolled in income-based Medicaid plans and about 175,000 enrolled in private plans.

State regulators say they’ll take pandemic-related changes to costs and enrollment under consideration once they approve rates, together with the actual impact of the coronavirus on costs.

“Obtaining more detailed information on how COVID-19 claims experience has influenced cost and trend models for 2023 shall be the first focus for our actuarial team,” Birrane said.

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the state’s dominant carrier, asked for a mean 11.2% rate increase in its HMO plan, which covers greater than 149,000 people. That might mean an additional $30 a month for a policy holder with an average-priced silver plan, pushing it as much as $353.

CareFirst requested a 25.9% rate increase for its PPO plan, which covers nearly 16,300 people.

United Healthcare is looking for a mean 8.7% increase for its HMO plan. The monthly cost for a policy holder with a silver plan would rise by $28 to $363.

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Kaiser Permanente asked for a mean 7.2% for its HMO plan, which covers almost 64,900 people. That might raise the premium for a policy holder with a silver plan by $14 to $275 a month.

“Kaiser Permanente’s proposed 2023 individual and family plan rates reflect the anticipated costs of providing high-quality health care and coverage for all our members over the long run,” Kaiser said in a press release. “We consider consumers will find us to be a competitive and comprehensive selection once they seek health coverage for 2023.”

Providers of medical health insurance for small businesses also requested a mean 10% increase.

For the present yr, state regulators ended up approving premium hikes for people averaging about 2.1% for the nearly three dozen plans offered by the three insurance firms on the exchange.

That followed several years of major reductions in costs because of a reinsurance program passed by the General Assembly that helped offset the bills for insurers from the most costly beneficiaries. It replaced a program killed by Republicans within the U.S. Congress.

The Maryland Insurance Administration expects to carry public hearings on the speed requests in July.

CareFirst and United Healthcare didn’t respond Wednesday to requests for comment.


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