Residents of Maryland and Virginia face double-digit percentage increases in premiums for individual Obamacare plans in 2019, according to rate requests made by insurers.
The largest hikes are being sought by CareFirst, which is seeking a 64% increase in Virginia, and a whopping 91% increase in Maryland for its PPO. Other insurers are following suit in the two states, with Kaiser requesting hikes of 32% and 37% respectively, followed by CareFirst’s HMO offering.
In Maryland, CareFirst wants to raise rates by 91 percent on a plan covering 15,000 people, Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. said. If approved, premiums for a 40-year-old could reach $1,334 a month [according to Bloomberg].
That’s over $16,000 per year for an individual plan in a state with an average personal income of $59,524.
“We have folks in Maryland that are struggling, that are trying to do the right thing, and they’re paying more for their health insurance than they are for their mortgage,” Redmer said on a call with reporters.
Maryland is seeking permission from the federal government to create a reinsurance program that would use $975 million in state and federal funds over five years to lower rates. That would help only temporarily, Redmer said. [Source: Bloomberg}
“I believe we’ve been in a death spiral for a year or two,” he said, adding that a permanent solution requires Congress to fix the Affordable Care Act.
Virginia and Maryland are the first two states in which 2019 rate requests – which are subject to regulatory approval and may change – have been made public, however increases are anticipated across the country as insurers adjust to the post-ACA battle. Final premium increases will need to be approved ahead of the November 1 open-enrollment period.