Insurance companies file rates for 2018, governor touts them as success story | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Insurance companies file rates for 2018, governor touts them as success story

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Health insurance companies have filed proposed rates for 2018 and Gov. Asa Hutchinson touts them as indicators of the success of the Arkansas method of implementing the Affordable Care Act, with its Medicaid expansion and marketplace insurance offerings.

You can see all proposals on the Insurance Department website. The biggest insurer in the state, Blue Cross and its affiliates with more than 200,000 covered, is seeking a 7.8 percent rate increase.  The second-largest, an Ambetter affiliate with more than 90,000 covered, is asking a 9.9 percent increase.

Hutchinson said the increases are among the lowest in the U.S., which he credited to broad participation driven by the so-called Arkansas Works program. He said some states are seeing 50 to 80 percent rate increase requests.

“In the midst of the confusion and heated rhetoric about the future of health care insurance in our country,” Governor Hutchinson said, “Arkansas has led the way in health care reform, and the result is that requested increases are much less than we are seeing nationally. We have maintained multiple choices for the consumer that are more balanced and competitive, but we have to continue to slow down the rising health care costs. This news shows progress.”
The future? Uncertain both at the state and national level. Hutchinson wants to reduce those covered by Medicaid by 60,000 and insists government subsidies will push those people into the marketplace, a belief some think unlikely on account of the costs working poor would face. Even more uncertain is how much support Congress will continue to muster for the Medicaid expansion. Most Republicans favor a reduction over time.

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