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Illinois Insurance Director: State’s Individual Health Exchange Rates Stabilizing

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct 11, 2018, (A. M. Best via COMTEX) --

Illinois individual health insurance rates for exchange plans under the Affordable Care Act are stabilizing for the first time in recent years, according to the state Department of Insurance.

The DOI said the rates in the three ACA metal tiers — bronze, silver and gold — either decreased or increased far below 2018 rates. Average rates for the lowest-cost silver plans dropped 4% and the lowest-cost gold plans fell 6% from 2018. Rates for the lowest-cost bronze plans increase by about 6%, although the DOI said the hike was well below the 20% increase in those plans for 2018. “Illinois consumers will finally have some relief after facing years of on average double-digit increases in health insurance premium rates,” DOI Director Jennifer Hammer said in a statement. “We are starting to see signs that the exchange is stabilizing given this year’s rates, a new insurer entering the on-exchange market in 2019, and no insurers from last year exiting.”

Illinois’ individual health insurance exchange, Get Covered Illinois, will have five carriers offering 151 plans during 2019, according to a DOI analysis. Gundersen Health Plan Inc. joins last year’s participants — Celtic Insurance Co., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc.; and Health Care Service Corp., also known as Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Gunderson will serve four counties; HCSC will cover the entire state and will be the lone provider in nine counties, according to DOI analysis.

Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc. will be the lone insurer offering small group coverage, but will not do so in 15 counties, including Cook County, which includes Chicago. But the DOI said 16 issuers outside the market will provide coverage for the small group market.

Several other states expect health insurance rates on their ACA exchanges to either drop or increase at rates that would be comparatively small to prior years. Health insurers operating in Pennsylvania have sought an aggregate statewide increase of 4.9% for 2019, after getting increases of more than 30% in both of the past two years. More recently, Nevada insurance regulators approved a 0.3% increase in the individual health insurance market for 2019 (Best’s News Service, Oct. 4, 2018).

(By Thomas Harman, Washington Bureau manager, BestWeek:

Thomas Harman

Copyright (C) 2018 by A. M. Best Company, Inc.

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