KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Insurers Seek Hefty Rate Increases For Obamacare Plans

In the three dozen states that are using healthcare.gov as their health law insurance marketplace, insurers are requesting widely different rate increases -- often in the double digits -- which reportedly are driven by factors such as the high cost of drugs and better data on the health status of customers, according to information released Monday by the federal government.

The New York Times: Seeking Rate Increases, Insurers Use Guesswork
In a sign of the tumult in the health insurance industry under the Affordable Care Act, companies are seeking wildly differing rate increases in premiums for 2016, with some as high as 85 percent, according to information released on Monday by the federal government for the 37 states using HealthCare.gov as their exchange. The data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services included only proposed rate increases of 10 percent or more, and federal officials emphasized that it would be months before final rates were set. Regulators in some states have the authority to overrule rate increases they deem to be too high. (Abelson, 6/1)

The Wall Street Journal: More Health-Care Insurers Seek Big Premium Increases
The Obama administration published more information Monday about hefty premium increases for 2016 sought by large insurers selling plans under the health law. Major carriers from around the country are proposing big increases in the premium rates paid by consumers who buy insurance policies on their own. (Radnofsky and Armour, 6/1)

Politico: Insurers Seek Double-Digit Obamacare Hikes
Health insurers are asking federal and state regulators to sign off on double-digit rate hikes for hundreds of Obamacare plans next year, increases that are being driven by skyrocketing drug costs and better data on how healthy or sick their customers are. On Monday, the Obama administration posted proposed premium hikes from a wide range of carriers — including major players like Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — and their rate requests provide the most comprehensive preview yet of what insurers expect for the 2016 enrollment season. (Demko, 6/1)

The Associated Press: Many Health Insurers Go Big On Initial 2016 Rate Requests
Dozens of health insurers say higher-than-expected care costs and other expenses blindsided them this year, and they're going to have to hike premiums for individual policies well-beyond 10 percent for 2016. The proposed double-digit hikes would apply to plans sold on the health insurance exchanges created under President Barack Obama's law, as well as individual coverage sold through brokers and agents. (Murphy, 6/1)

The Detroit Free Press: Some Michigan Insurers Seeking Hefty Price Hikes
Several health insurers in Michigan are seeking double-digit rate hikes for plans they sell to individuals, as industry representatives cite pricey drugs and pent-up demand for health care among the newly insured. Insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is requesting permission for an average 11.3% jump in rates and 9.7 % jump in its Blue Care Network plans. Those plans cover 310,000 individuals in the state. (Reindl and Erb, 6/1)

The Charlotte Observer: Blue Cross Proposing 25.7% Rate Hike For ACA Plans In NC
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s largest health insurer, said Monday it is seeking an average 25.7 percent rate increase for customers covered under the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rate hike is double last year’s 13.5 percent increase approved for Blue Cross, an indication that health insurance costs continue to rise despite the federal health care law. The Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010 to expand coverage and also to stem runaway health care costs. (Murawski, 6/1)

Chicago Tribune: Some Steep Increases In Health Premiums Expected In Illinois In 2016
Health insurance premiums could rise more than 30 percent next year for some people in Illinois who have bought individual plans, a hefty increase that insurers say is driven by the costs of members' medical bills. The largest average rate increases in the state were proposed for certain plans offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Coventry Health Care and Assurant Health, according to a list of proposed increases exceeding 10 percent that was posted Monday on the healthcare.gov website. (Venteicher, 6/1)

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