Last Insurer in Delaware Requests Rate Hike of 33.6% For 2018

An Obamacare logo is shown on the door of the UniVista Insurance agency in Miami, Florida / Getty Images
June 15, 2017

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield has requested a premium rate hike of 33.6 percent for 2018 to the Delaware Department of Insurance.

The state of Delaware has only two insurers participating on the exchanges this year and after Aetna announced in May that it will pull out of the Obamacare exchanges, Highmark will be the only insurer participating in the state in 2018.

This premium rate hike takes into account that both the cost-sharing subsidies and the individual mandate will not be in place next year.

The cost-sharing subsidies were put into question after two House committees said the payments were made without an appropriation from Congress and were unconstitutional.

Now, insurers have been questioning whether the Trump Administration will fulfill the payments. The secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tom Price was asked about the payments this week and he did not explicitly say if they would be made or not.

"Highmark's proposed rate increase reflects the fact that the federal government could cut funding for the ACA by discontinuing cost-sharing reduction subsidies," said Trinidad Navarro, Delaware's insurance commissioner. "Cost-sharing reduction subsidies are passed on to insurers to assist lower income individuals and families."

"Without competition from other companies and with the Affordable Care Act's fate left up to members of the federal government who appear to oppose it, we are in a difficult position," Navarro said. "My job is to pursue premium fairness and increased competition."

The proposed rate increases and insurer withdrawals could potentially affect 27,000 consumers in Delaware who have purchased coverage through the marketplace.