Oregon Approves Premium Rate Increases For 2016 Marketplace Plans
Oregon is the first state to announce its rates for the marketplace. In other news about state insurance markets, a report about Minnesota insurers' business on that state's online exchange, and Washington state's marketplace does not get as much funding as officials had sought.
More Than 220,000 Oregonians Face Higher Prices For 2016 Health Coverage
More than 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own health insurance will face higher premiums next year, and Portlanders could see some of the biggest hikes in the country. Oregon is the first state to announce 2016 rates for people who aren't covered by their employers or government programs. Overall, the news is not good for consumers. ... the least expensive "silver" plan premium available to a 40-year-old next year will run $271 per month under the new rates. That's up $49 per month over this year's low rate. (Budnick, 7/1)
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Government Programs Drove Insurer Earnings
Doing business with the government was a key source of income last year for Minnesota health insurers, but some of the money could be coming back to the state of Minnesota. Operating income from state health care programs including Medicaid and MinnesotaCare jumped by about two-thirds to about $195 million last year, up from $117.4 million in 2013, according to a report Wednesday from Allan Baumgarten, an independent health care analyst in St. Louis Park. ... Due in part to uncertainty about the health care needs of those gaining coverage under the law, contracts between the state and private insurers in the programs included provisions for retrospective severity adjustments. (Snowbeck, 7/1)
The Seattle Times:
Health-Exchange Budget Takes Hit, But Still ‘Sufficient’ For 2015-17
Washington’s health-insurance exchange will have to figure out how to get by on less money from the state than it hoped for over the next two years, but officials Wednesday said the budget is “sufficient.” Over the 2015-17 biennium, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange will have a $110 million budget to operate Healthplanfinder, the online exchange selling individual insurance coverage and plans for small businesses. The website is also where people enroll in Medicaid. (Stiffler, 7/1)
A new report finds that the newest people to enroll in the marketplace plans were younger and healthier than those who came in on the first year.
New Obamacare Enrollees Are Healthier, Report Finds
New ObamaCare enrollees are healthier and spent less on drugs than enrollees last year, according to a new analysis. The report from Express Scripts, the country’s largest pharmacy benefits manager, is a positive sign for the law, given the need to maintain a mix of healthy and sick enrollees to keep costs down. Still, ObamaCare exchange enrollees tended to be sicker than those in other health plans. Costs were 16 percent higher per member per month compared to non-ObamaCare plans, the report finds, largely due to higher spending on costly drugs for complex conditions. (Sullivan, 7/1)
In Kentucky, officials award contracts for the state's Medicaid managed care plans.
5 Medicaid Providers Get New Ky. Contracts
Kentucky has awarded new contracts to the five private companies that manage its rapidly expanding Medicaid program, its growth fueled by hundreds of thousands of new members under the Affordable Care Act. The growth has been a windfall for some of the companies over the past year, but the new contracts are designed to limit potential profits and address complaints about slow payments and excessively complicated forms and procedures. (Yetter, 7/1)