Insurance carriers have submitted proposed rates to the Department of Insurance (DOI) for 2018 in Kentucky’s individual and small group markets. In a continuing trend tied to market forces, an aging population, and systemic instability and uncertainty injected by the failure of Obamacare, the proposed rates reflect substantial year-over-year increases ranging from 6.5% to 47.7% depending on the plan. In addition to increased rates, preliminary filings suggest Kentuckians will have limited options on the healthcare exchange. In some counties, there will be only one option for individual coverage and no exchange offerings will be available in the small group market.
“The health insurance marketplace has been ripe with uncertainty and instability since the implementation of Obamacare,” said DOI Commissioner Nancy Atkins. “Year-after-year, Kentuckians are experiencing the fallout from bad policy, and the rate increases reflected in this year’s filings are, unfortunately, commonplace for most states.”
In an effort to reduce the magnitude of these proposed rate increases, DOI exercised its available flexibility within federal mandates to extend the submission date for initial rate filings on two separate occasions. These extensions permitted carriers additional time to fully evaluate the 2018 market. In addition, DOI proactively provided insurers with marketplace information specific to Kentucky.
“DOI has emphasized to carriers that the best possible outcomes for Kentucky consumers must be achieved,” added Atkins. “Obamacare’s failure at the federal level combined with the collapse of the Kentucky Health Cooperative under the Beshear Administration placed a substantial strain on the state’s entire healthcare matrix which continues to impact the current stability of the marketplace.”
DOI cautions the filings are preliminary and subject to change. Experienced DOI health analysts and actuaries will closely evaluate the rate request applications before rates are finalized on or before August 16, 2017. Although rate requests are generally indicative of rate increases for consumers, individual premiums will depend on a variety of factors, including age, smoking habits, and geographic location. Open enrollment for plan year 2018 begins November 1, 2017.
The preliminary 2018 rate filings are available online on the Kentucky Department of Insurance website at http://insurance.ky.gov/ratefil/default.aspx.
The Kentucky Department of Insurance regulates the Commonwealth’s insurance market, licenses agents and other insurance professionals, monitors the financial condition of companies, educates consumers to make wise choices, and ensures Kentuckians are treated fairly in the marketplace. To learn more about DOI, visit http://insurance.ky.gov/.