Silver level plan rate increases
The proposed increases for Silver level plans on the exchange are significantly higher this year, even more than the increases for Bronze or Gold level plans, due to the potential refusal by the federal government to fund the Cost Share Reduction (CSR) mechanism. The CSR requires insurance carriers selling plans through Your Health Idaho to lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums on Silver plans for enrollees who earn below 250% of the federal poverty level. “I call on Congress to either repeal the CSR requirement or fund the program,” said Director Dean Cameron. “That action alone would reduce the proposed increase by at least 20% on the Silver plans.” The premium requests for the Silver level plans reflect the cost of the CSR benefits since the carrier is still obligated to provide the benefits regardless of whether or not the program is funded at the federal level.
The proposed increases to Silver plan premiums would also result in an increase in advanced premium tax credits (APTC) for those eligible and purchasing coverage through Your Health Idaho. Individuals who are not currently receiving APTC are reminded to check for eligibility again this year. “Ironically, Congress may spend more of our federal tax dollars through higher APTC’s than if they funded the CSR mechanism,” said Director Cameron. The Department recommends that all individuals work with a licensed insurance agent to choose the best plan based on their needs.
Carrier participation in Idaho
Idahoans have benefited by having a large number of carriers participating in Your Health Idaho and in the market. While some states grapple to find a single carrier, Idaho has had five carriers participating on the exchange and five carriers participating statewide. For 2018, carrier participation has reduced with the withdrawal of Bridgespan and a reduction of counties served by SelectHealth in Eastern Idaho.
Department of Insurance seeks comments and assistance from the public
“The proposed rate increases demonstrate the need for changes to the federal law. Idaho’s congressional delegation has been responsive and responsible, but we must help them deliver the message to their colleagues,” said Cameron. “If congress is unable to repeal or replace, I ask that they do the following three things at a minimum to stabilize the market and reduce rates:
- Fund or repeal the CSR mechanism (estimated savings of 20%)
- Fund High Risk Reinsurance Pools, similar to proposals in both bodies of Congress (estimated savings of 10% to 20%)
- Allow true consumer choice of plans, similar to the Cruz amendment, either on or off exchange (estimated savings of 20% to 50% compared to ACA plans)
“The Department and I will continue to work on ideas to reduce costs. We invite the public to comment, ask questions, or share ideas.”
Comments, questions, or ideas can be submitted electronically or mailed to the following:
2018 Rate Comments
Idaho Department of Insurance
PO Box 83720
Boise ID 83720-0043
For questions about this or other insurance-related topics, contact the Idaho Department of Insurance by visiting www.doi.idaho.gov or by calling 334-4250 in the Boise area or 800-721-3272 toll-free statewide.