FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
8/29/2017
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Tracy Imm, 410-468-2206

The Maryland Insurance Administration Approves Non-Medigap Premium Rates for 2018 Small Group and Individual Markets

Open Enrollment Begins Nov. 1 in the Individual Market; Consumers Encouraged to Shop Rates

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) today announced approved premium rates for both small group and individual health insurance plans to be offered in the state for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. More than 90% of Marylanders are covered by health insurance plans offered through large employers or employers who self-insure, or participate in “grandfathered” plans purchased before March 2010 or in Federal plans (such as Medicare, Tricare, or federal employee plans). For these Marylanders, today’s announcement will not affect their rates.

To assist the Administration in making rate decisions, MIA actuaries reviewed the data, methodologies, and assumptions companies used to develop their proposed rates. The Administration also considered public comments, along with other relevant factors, in determining whether to approve, modify or deny requested rates. This year, the MIA also engaged an outside actuarial firm, Oliver Wyman, to do an independent third-party review of CareFirst’s individual non-Medigap market rate submissions.

Small Group Market Summary: Approximately 257,000 Marylanders are enrolled in small group plans. The health insurance rates will increase by an average of 1.7% versus the originally filed 4.2%. This single-digit increase can be attributed to favorable experience, a competitive marketplace and two decades of reforms in the State small group market. Four health insurance carriers filed to sell HMO and PPO products in the small group market for 2018: Aetna, CareFirst, Kaiser, and UnitedHealthCare (UHC).

Individual Non-Medigap Market Summary: Approximately 243,000 Marylanders are enrolled in individual health plans. Health insurers have sought rate adjustments in response to significant changes in federal regulation and market dynamics over the past few years. Cigna will no longer be offering individual plans in Maryland for 2018. The average increase will be 33.0% versus the originally filed 43.1% which can be attributed to: 1) the reinstatement of the health insurer fee; 2) healthy members leaving the market; 3) claims costs rising at about 8% annually; and 4) actual claims experience being higher than expected. The rates do not include any factor based upon the political uncertainty of future cost-sharing reduction payments. Two carriers will offer plans in this market: CareFirst and Kaiser. The MIA approved rates for CareFirst's plans are 1.2% lower than amounts recommended by the third-party consultant, Oliver Wyman.

2018 Open Enrollment: Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017. Marylanders are encouraged to shop rates and may sign up for new plans or renew existing ones during the open enrollment period.

Small Group Market: Below is a list, by carrier, of rates requested versus approved:
 

​Company Name ​Members as of 03/31/17 ​Type of Network ​Min. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Max. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Avg. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Avg. Rate Difference: Requested vs. Approved
​Aetna Health, Inc.​ ​3,939 ​HMO ​Requested 1.6%
Approved 0.2%
​Requested 38.6%
Approved 36.6%
​Requested 17.5%
Approved 15.9%
​-1.6%
​ Aetna Life Insurance Co.​ ​5,731 ​PPO ​Requested -0.7%
Approved -2.1%
​Requested 29.0%
Approved 27.1%
​Requested 7.2%
Approved 5.6%
​-1.6%
​CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. ​144,696 ​HMO ​Requested -4.3%
Approved -6.5%
​Requested 5.1%
Approved 2.5%
​Requested 3.1%
Approved 1.0%
​-2.1%
​CareFirst of Maryland and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst companies) ​25,133 ​PPO ​Requested 0.6%
Approved 1.1%
​Requested 4.5%
Approved 9.6%
​Requested 2.9%
Approved 4.8%
​+1.9%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.​ ​7,677 ​HMO ​Requested -11.0%
Approved -10.7%
​Requested 12.6%
Approved 13.0%
​Requested -2.7%
Approved 0.2%
​+2.9%
​MAMSI Life and Health Insurance Co. (a UHC company)​ ​15,650 ​EPO ​Requested -2.9%
Approved -6.3%
​Requested 16.2%
Approved 12.1%
​Requested 10.6%
Approved 2.1%
​-8.5%
​UnitedHealthCare Insurance Co. ​18,693 ​PPO ​Requested -11.6%
Approved -14.6%
​Requested 14.9%
Approved 10.9%
​Requested 10.6%
Approved 0.7%
​-9.9%
​UnitedHealthCare of the Mid-Atlantic​ ​4,408 ​HMO ​Requested 1.7%
Approved -1.9% 
​Requested 15.8%
Approved 11.8%
​Requested 12.9%
Approved 5.0%
​-7.9%
Optimum Choice (a UHC company)​ ​11,437 ​HMO ​Requested 1.2%
Approved -2.3%
​Requested 18.6%
Approved 14.4%
​Requested 12.9%
Approved 1.1%
​-11.8%

The Administration also announced individual non-Medigap health insurance rates. Below is a list, by carrier, of rates requested versus rates approved:
​Company Name ​Members as of 03/31/17 ​Type of Network ​Min. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Max. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Avg. Rate Increase: Requested & Approved ​Avg. Rate Difference: Approved vs. Requested
​CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. ​158,835 ​HMO ​Requested 45.2%
Approved 26.3%
​Requested 57.1%
Approved 48.3%
​Requested 50.4%
Approved 34.5%
​-15.9%
​CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst companies)​ ​24,410 ​PPO ​Requested 53.4%
Approved 41.8%
​Requested 61.9%
Approved 57.7%
​Requested 58.8%
Approved 49.9%
​-8.9%
​ Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.​ ​59,522 ​HMO ​Requested 16.6%
Approved 16.0%
​Requested 34.1%
Approved 32.9%
​Requested 23.4%
Approved 22.6%
​-0.8%


Third-Party Analysis: The chart below shows the requested versus approved rates for CareFirst's individual plans:

​First Avg. Requested Rate​ ​Oliver Wyman Recommended Avg. Rate ​MIA Approved Avg. Rate
​First BlueChoice, Inc. (HMO)​ ​50.4% ​35.5% ​34.5%
​CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst companies) (PPO)​ ​58.8% ​52.5% ​49.9%
 
Summaries of each rate decision are available on the MIA’s rate review website at www.HealthRates.mdinsurance.state.md.us. Sample approved 2018 premium rates for all companies by geographic region also are available on that website. The sample rates do not reflect any employer contribution, any financial assistance a consumer may receive to reduce premiums or cost-sharing for plans purchased through the State’s health insurance marketplace, www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov.

Related Links: 
About the Maryland Insurance Administration
 
The Insurance Administration is an independent State agency charged with regulating Maryland’s $28.5 billion insurance industry. For more information about the Insurance Administration, please visit www.insurance.maryland.gov or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDInsuranceAdmin or Twitter at @MD_Insurance.
 
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