OHIC reveals proposed insurance rate changes for 2020

THE OFFICE of the Health Insurance Commissioner has released the proposed health insurance rate changes for 2020.
THE OFFICE of the Health Insurance Commissioner has released the proposed health insurance rate changes for 2020.

PROVIDENCE – Health insurers doing business in Rhode Island have submitted their requests for rate increases for 2020, the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner announced Friday.

OHIC is responsible for reviewing the rate changes and approving, modifying or rejecting proposed rates for small-group, large-group and individual insurance plans.

OHIC said that the rate increases proposed this year are partially due to continuing rising health care costs, including prescription drug costs trends driven by new expensive drugs and price increases, as well as the reinstatement of the federal health insurance tax, which was suspended by Congress in 2019.

OHIC has scheduled a hearing for public comment on July 15 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the R.I. Department of Labor & Training Conference Room, 1511 Pontiac Ave. Building 73-1 in Cranston.

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The office is also accepting written public comment through July 19 via email or post.

Small group market weighted-average rate change requests:

  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island requested a 5.6% increase for 2020. The company had requested a 5.7% rate increase for 2019 but was approved for a 4.6% increase
  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island requested a 0.9% reduction in 2020. The company requested a 0.2% reduction the year before – which was approved
  • UnitedHealthcare requested a 10.6% rate increase for its small group HMO plan for 2020. The company requested a 3.4% increase for 2019 but was approved for a 1.2% reduction in rates
  • UnitedHealthcare requested a 10% increase for its PPO small group rate. The company requested a 0.6% reduction in 2019 but was approved for a 5% reduction
  • Tufts Health Plan requested a 6.7% increase for 2020 for its HMO plan. The company requested a 10.9% increase for 2019 and was approved for a 10.2% increase
  • Tufts Health Plan requested an 11% increase for its PPO plan. The company had requested a 10.1% increase in 2019 but was approved for a 9.4% increase

Large group market weighted-average rate change requests:

  • BCBSRI requested a 9.6% increase for 2020. The company requested a 10.6% increase for 2019 and was approved for an 8% increase
  • UnitedHealthcare requested a 10.3% increase for 2020. The company requested a 9.1% increase for 2019 and was approved for an 8.1% increase
  • Tufts Health Plan requested a 9.6% increase for its HMO plan for 2020. The company requested and was approved for a 10.3% increase for 2019
  • Tufts Health Plan requested a 10.6% increase for its PPO plan. The company requested and was approved for a 10.2% increase in 2019

Individual market weighted-average rate change requests:

  • BCBSRI requested a 6.9% increase for 2020. The company requested a 10.7% increase in 2019 and was approved for a 7.5% increase
  • NHPRI requested a 5.4% increase for 2020. For 2019, the company requested and received an 8.7% increase to individual rates.

OHIC noted that if the creation of the Health Insurance Integrity Fund passes – a program included in both Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s proposed budget and R.I. House of Representatives budget-committee-proposed budget – that BCBSRI individual rate request would fall from its proposed 6.9% increase to a decline of 0.1%. The program would change NHPRI’s request from an increase of 5.4% to an increase of 1.7%.

The proposed program would make reinsurance payments to health plans to reduce the burden of high-cost claims on individual market premiums. The program would qualify the state for federal funds through the Affordable Care Act.

The R.I. House is expected to vote on the budget Friday evening.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. You may reach him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.