AID Releases Health Rate Requests For 2017

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr today released the following statement announcing major medical rate filing requests higher than 10% for 2017 individual on-exchange health insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act:

“Due to statute, the requested rate increases by insurance companies are subject to the approval of the Arkansas Insurance Department.  At this time, with the information we have on hand, including historical patterns, Governor Hutchinson and I do not believe there is substantive justification for these rate increases.  For that reason, we expect to take action to deny the requested rate increases until there is sufficient justification to properly consider any rate increase.

“We are delighted to have such a vibrant insurance marketplace in Arkansas, and AID will continue its commitment to provide Arkansans with quality and affordable access to health insurance now and in the future.”

Under the terms of ACA, insurance companies have to justify rate increases that exceed 10% to the state they operate in.  Rate requests exceeding 10% must also be disclosed publicly.  For 2017, the individual on-exchange requests exceeding 10% are:

PY2017 Average Increase Request
QualChoice Life and Health 23.69%
QCA Health Plan, Inc. 23.78%
AR Blue Cross & Blue Shield (MSP) 14.70%
AR Blue Cross & Blue Shield (Local) 14.70%

One other insurance company participating in the Arkansas marketplace, Celtic Insurance (Ambetter), has submitted a rate increase request below the 10% automatic-reporting threshold.  The Arkansas Insurance Department has until August 23 to grant approval of rates for qualified health plans for Plan Year 2017.  The Open Enrollment Period for PY 2017 will run from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017.