Montana Insurers Propose Lower Individual Premiums

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By: Kevin Trevellyan

Montanans who buy individual health care plans through the federal government’s marketplace will pay less for it next year, at least partially due to a new state law.

State Auditor Matt Rosendale today announced that the three companies providing insurance under the Affordable Care Act exchange expect to cut average premiums on policies for individuals by 8 to 14% for 2020.

University of Montana economist Bryce Ward says that’s rare in a country where health care costs generally increase faster than inflation…

Rosendale attributes most of the premium percent decreases to the state’s new reinsurance program, which the Legislature passed this year.

Funded by federal dollars and a tax on major medical plans sold in Montana, reinsurance provides a backstop for health insurance companies, reimbursing them for high-cost claims between $40,000 and $1 million. That prevents the often unpredictable high costs from driving up customer prices the next year.

That’s significant in Montana, where a couple of people can drastically affect a small insurance pool.

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