Rates for insurance plans sold on
State and insurance officials announced that the rates will drop about 12% beginning in January, after dropping more than 10% this year and more than 13% in 2019.
The rate declines will benefit those who renew or buy plans created under the Affordable Care Act through the exchange or directly from an insurer. They do not apply to those who get their insurance through their employer.
There currently are the 212,000 Marylanders with such plans.
About 70,000 people have signed up so far during a special enrollment period that began in March and continues to mid-December for those who lost their insurance along with their jobs during the pandemic. That included about 25,000 who bought private plans and an additional 45,000 who qualified for Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people.
There are now about 1.15 million people enrolled in Medicaid in the state, up about 64,000 people from a year ago. People can enroll in the program year-round.
Open enrollment will begin in November for next year for the exchange plans. There will be plans from two returning carriers,
Average rates for the HMO from CareFirst, long the state's dominant carrier, will drop almost 12% and the PPO rates will drop just over 17%. Both will be far lower than CareFirst initially proposed in May.
Kaiser asked for and was approved for a drop of about 11%. UHC's HMO plan will be priced about 7.6% below its request.
State and insurance officials, as well as advocates, credited the declines in premiums to a state reinsurance program that helps insurers pay for their most expensive enrollees. It replaced a federal program ended by the Trump administration, which supports a Republican-led effort to scrap the entire health law. A case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act brought by Republican attorneys general will be heard by the Supreme Court after
State leaders say the three-year cumulative effect is a decrease of 31.4% for health insurance premiums on the exchange.
"There remains a great deal of uncertainty at this time due to a number of factors such as a possible second surge, the health of the economy and other factors which could impact 2021 enrollment," Pieninck said.