By: Eric Whitney
Montana’s health insurance companies are asking for rate increases for 2018 ranging from 2 percent to 23 percent. Those numbers released today are much lower than the rate increases for last year, some of which topped 50 percent.
The proposed increases are only for the individual and small group markets. Most Montanans get their health coverage elsewhere, either through their jobs or government programs like Medicaid, Medicare and the Veterans Administration…
Montana’s Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale:
“The market will stabilize the more concrete information that we can get out of Washington. Everybody wants to have reliable information. Everyone wants to have a dependable process that they can count on, and I think that what we are seeing come out of Washington is some additional information that gives the insurers some comfort level as to what they can rely on,” Rosendale says.
Rosendale is a fierce critic of the Affordable Care Act. His election in November switched control of the insurance commissioner’s office away from Democrats. Rosendale blames the current healthcare law for increased health insurance prices in Montana.
“The rate increases are affected by a number of factors, including the increasing costs of healthcare services, the government policies that mandate insurance companies to provide certain benefits and ban other options, and the amount of healthcare services that are consumed by the insured individuals,” he says. “So it’s a number of factors, many of which the insurers themselves can’t control. It’s because of the mandates that have been established through the Obamacare system.”
The proposed rate increases would affect about 114,000 Montanans who buy coverage in the small group and individual marketplaces. Most of those buying individual coverage qualify for subsidies that reduce their actual out of pocket costs.
Read more at MTPR