The Leaflet – State Insurance Regulators Approve Double-Digit Premium Increases

Published September 3, 2015

State Insurance Regulators Approve Double-Digit Premium Increases

Many states have approved unprecedented increases for insurance premiums following an influx of new customers. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, state insurance commissioners in Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Tennessee have approved double-digit premium hikes for many of the health insurance plans offered in state exchanges. The premium increases are set to take place in 2016.

State regulators say the increases are needed because newly added patients have been sicker than expected. In Idaho, Blue Cross Health Service received approval to increase rates by 23 percent. The Kentucky insurance commissioner approved a 25.1 percent rate increase for the Kentucky Health Cooperative. Oregon’s insurance commissioner recently approved to increase rates by an average of 25.6 percent for Moda Health Plan. In Tennessee, Blue Cross Blue Shield acquired a 36.3 percent rate increase approval.

The Wall Street Journal report claims many insurers wanted to attract new business by offering low premiums during the first two years of open enrollment through the health insurance exchanges, but now insurers want to raise rates to keep up with costs.

According to a recent New York Times report, Blue Cross Blue Shield “[is] seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota.”

Many employers are facing insurance premium increases as well. According to a 2015 survey by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. of 3,031 U.S. employers, 90 percent of employers are facing increases in the premiums they pay for employee health plans, with nearly 25 percent of employers seeing rate increases in the double digits.

Many options that would result in lower premium costs and higher quality care are not available to the states due to federal control. However, there are areas where the states do have options that could result in tangible improvements to coverage and provide the basis for innovative reforms of an entitlement system that fails the people it endeavors to help. Those include reforming certificate of need laws and fixing Medicaid, rather than expanding it.

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The August issue of Environment & Climate News presents highlights of the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, hosted by The Heartland Institute on June 11–12 in Washington, DC. The conference featured 51 speakers and attracted more than 400 attendees. To watch complete videos of the panels, speeches, and award presentations, visit climate

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