Health Insurers in Maryland Request Premium Rate Hikes as High as 150%

Insurers are requesting a minimum hike ranging from 9.13 to 53.40%

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May 5, 2017

Health care insurers in Maryland have requested premium rate hikes as high as 150.83 percent for next year, according to the state's insurance administration.

The five insurers in the individual market requested three different rates to the insurance commissioner, which included a minimum rate increase, a maximum rate increase, and an average rate increase.

The insurers serving the individual market in Maryland include CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc., CareFirst of Maryland, Inc., Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co., Evergreen Health, Inc., and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.

While Kaiser requested a minimum rate increase of 9.13 percent, Cigna requested a max premium rate increase of 150.83 percent. The average rate increase for the five insurers who submitted rate increases on the individual market ranged from 18.08 to 58.80 percent.

With these average rate increases, a 40-year-old nonsmoker who purchases the lowest-cost silver plan will see his average premium increase from $359.25 to $714.95, before any subsidies.

The 10 insurers in the small group market are also requesting average rate increases as high as 17.5 percent. One insurer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., is actually requesting reducing the average rate by 2.7 percent.

For the same 40-year-old nonsmoker purchasing the lowest-cost silver plan in the small-group market, average premiums are expected to rise in a range of $242.04 to $438.09, before subsidies.

"It's important to remember that these rates are what companies have requested, and not necessarily what will be approved," said Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. "There will be a thorough review of all the filings. As in years past, we may require changes."

In October of last year, the Obama administration announced that premiums for 2017 would rise by double-digits. According to the Kaiser Foundation, rate increases are a result of the increasing number of insurers experiencing losses on the exchanges.

"Nationwide, average Marketplace premiums for 2017 are increasing more than they have in the past two years," the Obama administration said. "For the median consumer, the benchmark second-lowest silver plan premium is increasing by 16 percent this year, before taking into account the effects of financial assistance."