KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Maryland Regulators Approve Premium Rates Much Lower Than Insurers Sought

The Maryland insurance commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith approved premium increases Friday for nine insurance companies who applied to sell plans to individuals through a state exchange, which was established by the health law. 

The Washington Post: Maryland Issues Insurance Rates That Are Among Lowest In U.S.
The Maryland Insurance Administration approved premiums at levels as much as 33 percent below what had been requested by insurance carriers. For a 21-year-old non-smoker, for example, options start as low as $93 a month. Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith reduced the premium rates proposed by every insurance carrier in the individual market, including some by more than 50 percent, according to an analysis by Maryland officials who will be operating the marketplace (Sun, 7/26).

Kaiser Health News: Maryland Regulators Slash Rates For Obamacare Insurance Policies
Citing what they called flawed data and unreasonable assumptions, Maryland insurance regulators on Friday sharply reduced prices for health plans that will be sold to individuals and families through the state's insurance marketplace starting Oct. 1 (7/26).

Baltimore Sun: Premiums To Go Up As Much As 25 Percent Under Health Reform
Marylanders who buy health insurance on a state exchange under health reform could see their premiums jump as much as 25 percent under rates approved by state regulators, but those increases are less than insurers sought. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith approved premium increases Friday for nine insurance companies who applied to sell plans to individuals through a state exchange, called Maryland Health Connection, established under health reform (Walker, 7/26).

The Associated Press: Md. Insurance Official Approves Health Care Rates
Newly approved rates for health plans that will be sold in the individual market through Maryland's new health benefit exchange will have some of the lowest costs among the 12 states that have either proposed or approved rates, the state's insurance commissioner said Friday. Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith approved the rates after reviewing proposals from insurance companies and considering public comments (Witte, 7/26).

Still, news outlets report that rates vary among states and political spinning continues  -

USA Today: State Health Exchange Rates Vary, But Lower Than Expected
As state health exchanges continue to announce lower-than-expected rates for health insurance, experts say both state and regional issues play a part in how much a consumer will pay for insurance beginning in January (Kennedy, 7/28).

The Associated Press: Health Care Battle Fraught With Partisan Numbers
In the raging federal health care debate, numbers are turning out to be some of the most partisan tools available to Democrats, Republicans and everyone with a stake in the game. Indiana residents have gotten a rare look at the spinning of statistics and price tags that happens regularly in government as Gov. Mike Pence's point man on federal health care estimated that residents would pay 72 percent more for health insurance through the insurance exchange being built (LoBianco, 7/28).

And in Minnesota -

MPR News: State Officials Ask Insurers To Reveal Premium Details Early
Two state government agencies are asking companies selling health plans on the new online insurance exchange, MNsure, to give Minnesotans an early peak at how much policies will cost when they go into effect. Right now, the rates are kept secret until their effective date — Oct. 1 — the same day MNsure goes live to help Minnesotans compare and enroll in those policies. But Minnesota's commerce and health departments are asking the plans to change the effective date so the rates can be revealed about a month early, on Sept. 6. The state commerce and health departments say releasing the rates before MNsure goes live would give consumers and small businesses more time to understand their options (Stawicki, 7/26).

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