Health Insurers in New Mexico To Implement Record-High Premium Increases

Insurance superintendent says premiums are spiking because not enough people are signing up for coverage

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September 22, 2017

Health insurers in New Mexico are increasing premiums at the highest rate seen in the four-year history of the state's exchanges, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Insurers will increase premiums next year from a range of 36 to 41 percent for midlevel insurance plans. For all plans, premiums are expected to rise a range of 17 to 49 percent.

Sixty percent of consumers in New Mexico will qualify for subsidies to lower the cost of the increasing premium.

"I feel sorry for the other 40 percent though," said John Franchini, the state's insurance superintendent. "Forty percent have to pay the full brunt of the rate increases."

Franchini says that instability of the exchanges is the main reason insurers want premium rate increases. By raising premiums, insurers can be more confident about participating in Obamacare if the extra cash can insulate them from major financial losses.

In addition, Franchini says premiums are going up because not enough people are purchasing insurance through the exchanges.

"The continued volatility and chaos in health insurance market creates an extraordinarily challenging business environment for health insurers," said Martin Hickey, the CEO of New Mexico's co-op, New Mexico Health Connections. "Health plans are doing the best they can to navigate in the current climate."