ROSENDALE’S REINSURANCE PROGRAM HELPS KEEP HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS STABLE
HELENA, Mont. – Two of Montana’s three health insurance companies providing individual market (ACA/Obamacare) plans have dropped their proposed premium increases after State Auditor Matt Rosendale told them rate hikes were unacceptable.
“At a time when insurance companies are seeing profit increases in the Obamacare markets and when we’re seeing such an under-utilization of elective health care during the COVID-19 pandemic that hospitals have had to furlough hundreds of employees, I told the insurers they needed to do better,” Rosendale said.
After initially proposing overall average premium increases of 2.3% and 3.3%, respectively, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana and the Montana Health CO-OP have lowered their rate changes to 0.0% and 0.68% for 2021 insurance plans.
PacificSource’s overall average premium increase remains unchanged from their original 5.0% submission. Rates are now final following the conclusion of the rate review process.
All three companies would have submitted double-digit premium increases were it not for the Montana Reinsurance Program.
The reinsurance program provides a financial backstop against high-cost insurance claims, allowing companies to mitigate risk and lower prices while continuing to provide insurance to Montanans with preexisting and expensive medical conditions.
Rosendale fought to establish a reinsurance program since he was elected State Auditor. Governor Bullock vetoed Rosendale’s reinsurance proposal twice in 2017 before finally coming around to the idea in the 2019 legislative session, when the new program was established. Reinsurance helped reduce premiums on every single 2020 individual market health insurance plan, with double-digit rate decreases on average.
“The Montana Reinsurance Program is doing its job and I’m glad we’re preventing double-digit rate increases next year after successfully lowering rates on every single plan this year,” Rosendale said.
The final rate changes announced today are overall averages, meaning that individuals may see greater or lesser impacts than the average. Open enrollment for 2021 health insurance begins in November of this year, which is when Montanans will be able to shop for plans and see how rate changes affect them on an individual basis. Job loss is a “qualifying event” for people to get ACA plans outside of the normal enrollment period.
Individual market (Obamacare/ACA) rate changes do not affect Montanans who get their health care coverage through a large employer or a government program like Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA.