Rosendale Announces Public Meetings and Public Comment Period
HELENA, Mont. – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Matt Rosendale today made proposed 2018 individual and small employer group health insurance rate changes available to the public. There will be two public meetings on the proposed rate increases, and Montanans are invited to make their voices heard by submitting public comment.
Under Montana law, the State Auditor’s office has the authority to review insurance rates, but does not have the power to deny rate increases unless they are unfairly discriminatory. The proposed rate changes announced today will not affect most Montanans who have health insurance provided through their employer or a government program.
“Health insurance is already too expensive for many Montanans, and additional increases are certainly unwelcome news for families struggling to make ends meet,” Rosendale said. “My office is reviewing the proposed rate changes to make sure they are justified, and I am continuing to push for reforms at both the federal and state levels to lower the cost of health care and health insurance. Montanans deserve better than the current policies like Obamacare that reduce access to health care, limit choices, and drive up costs.”
In the individual market, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is requesting an average increase of 23.1 percent. Blue Cross currently insures about 32,000 Montanans in the individual market.
The Montana Health CO-OP is requesting an average increase of 4 percent in the individual market. The CO-OP insures about 20,000 Montanans in the individual market.
PacificSource is requesting an average increase of 7.4 percent and insures approximately 12,000 Montanans in the individual market.
Blue Cross is requesting an average increase of 6.7 percent for small group plans covering about 36,000 Montanans. PacificSource is requesting an average increase of 6.4 percent for small group plans covering about 13,000 Montanans. The Montana Health CO-OP is requesting a 2 percent average increase for small group plans covering about 240 Montanans, and UnitedHealthcare is requesting an average 6.7 percent increase for small group plans covering less than 150 Montanans.
Commissioner Rosendale and the State Auditor’s Office will hold two public meetings on the proposed rate changes. The first will take place in Billings on July 24th at 5:30 PM in Room 206 of the Montana State University Billings LA Building. The second public meeting will be in Helena on July 26th at 1:00 PM in Room 137 of the Montana State Capitol.
In addition to the public comment periods at the two meetings, Montanans can also email their comments on proposed 2018 rate changes to CSIPublicComment@mt.gov through August 1st.
A summary of the proposed health insurance rate changes, agendas for the public meetings, and instructions for submitting public comment are available to the public HERE.
The rate changes announced today are changes proposed by the companies listed above. 2018 health insurance rates will be finalized in mid-August following review by the State Auditor’s office and public comment.
Rate increases are caused by a number of factors, including the increasing cost of health care services, government policies that mandate insurance companies provide certain benefits and ban other options, the amount of health care services consumed by insured individuals, and the overall health of the insured population.