Amid uncertainty, most insurers plan to stay in health exchanges

As Congress reportedly prepares to roll out a new proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) next week, several states are coming up against May 1 deadlines for rate submissions – even as they remain in the dark about the future of the ACA health insurance exchanges.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in February pushed back the rate filing date for 2018 to June 21 from May 3 so health insurance companies could have more time as Washington lawmakers worked out a replacement plan.

Colorado, Kentucky, and New Hampshire were among the states to delay their rate filing deadlines until June, but some states – including California, Connecticut, Maryland, New York (May 15 deadline), and Oregon – are holding to their May deadlines.

While a number of health insurers have withdrawn from the ACA exchanges, an early April survey by Oliver Wyman Health shows that the vast majority of insurers still in the exchanges plan to remain next year. Only one of the insurers surveyed (4 percent) said it would pull out of next year’s exchanges.

Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of the insurers who intend to operate in the exchanges in 2018 said they would retain their current plan offerings. Thirteen percent of respondents said they would change metal level offerings, while 8 percent said they would tighten controls in their products.

“Half the payers in our survey plan on a rate increase of 10 percent to 20 percent” in 2018, Oliver Wyman reported. Twenty-five percent are planning a rate increase of less than 10 percent, while another 25 percent plan to increase rates by more than 20 percent, the survey shows. The average rate increase for this year was 22 percent.

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