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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/.

Jerrry Abramson as Louisville MayorFormer Louisville Mayor Resigns as Lt. Gov. to Fill Federal Position – Luallen to Fill Second-in-Command Role

Jerry Abramson is stepping down from his position as Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor after Barack Obama tapped the democrat for the role of White House Liason to Staet and Local Government.  Abramson earned the nickname of Louisville’s “mayor for life” after occupying the office for 21 years – the longest tenure in the position’s history.

One of Abramson’s duties in his new role will be to help coordinate with states on Obamacare’s upcoming second open enrollment period which begins on November 15 and lasts for three months. Abramson was tapped, in part, due to his experience as chairman of Kentucky’s health care initiative, one of the more successful state exchanges under Obamacare with more than 400,000 people enrolled.  This announcement comes at an interesting time, as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell renew efforts to repeal the Obamacare law following the “shellacking” suffered by democrats in the midterm elections.

Additional  duties for Abramson include work on education and economic issues, including work toward raising the minimum wage in states and cities as Congress rejects Obama’s call for a national increase.

The appointment, not subject to Senate confirmation, sees Abramson replace departing David Agnew.  The position reports to Obama consigliere, Valerie Jarrett.  Former state auditor Crit Luallen will step up to fill the state’s vacated second-in-command role.  Luallen has also served in various positions in the Commonwealth, including state budget director, secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet and secretary of the Tourism Cabinet.

Abramson’s resignation will be effective November 13 and he will begin his new position the following day, one day before the open enrollment period begins.

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