Proposed individual, small group health insurance rates for 2019 announced

(Helena, MT – Insurance News 360) – Montana’s 2019 individual and small group insurance market rates are now available to the general public.

Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale made proposed rates available to the public on June 28.

There’s no change expected for 18,500 Montana residents covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana plans in the individual market. The company proposes a decrease of 4.9 percent for about  25,000 Montanans covered by their small group plans.

PacificSource  proposes an average increase of 6.2 percent on approximately 12,700 Montanans covered by their individual market plans, and a 1.8 percent average increase on their small group plans. About 19,200 Montanans are covered by PacificSource in the small group market.

The Montana Health CO-OP is proposing average rate increases of 10.6 percent in the individual market, and 4.6 percent in the small group market. The CO-OP insures about 23,300 Montanans in the individual market and about 240 in the small group market.

Among those three companies, 64 different plans will be available for Montanans in both the individual and small group markets. Additionally, 30 more small group plans will be offered by UnitedHealthcare and WMI off exchange only.

Under Montana law, the insurance commissioner’s office will now review the proposed rate changes for accuracy and justification; the office cannot reject rates unless they are discriminatory.. Rates will be finalized in August. The proposed rates do not affect residents who are covered through a large employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.

 “Obamacare has been a disaster for many Montana families. We need to repeal it and create our own Montana health care solution instead of relying on an unaffordable, one-size-fits-all program from Washington, D.C.,” Rosendale said. “I will keep fighting to give Montanans more options to get health care based on their own personal needs, budgets, and decisions so that every Montanan can access affordable health care.”

As insurance commissioner, Rosendale has worked to give Montanans more options for accessing lower cost, quality health care. Rosendale has authorized direct primary care agreements and health care sharing ministries as alternative health care options for Montanans. Following Rosendale’s actions, new direct primary care clinics are in Missoula and Polson, and the Medi-Share ministry is operating in Montana.

Public comment is only required on rate increases over 15 percent, but the insurance commissioner’s office will accept all public comment related to proposed 2019 rate changes. Public comments can be emailed to through July 27, 2018. The commissioner’s office will then compile the comments and forward them to the relevant insurance companies to consider before rates are finalized in August. Instructions for submitting public comment and the companies’ explanation of their rate changes can be found HERE.

More details on the rate review process, proposed 2019 individual and small group health insurance rate changes, and how to submit public comments can be found HERE.

Source: Montana Department of Insurance.

Minnesota residents may need new Medicare Cost Plan for 2019

(Saint Paul, MN – Insurance News 360) – Changes in federal law mean that many Minnesota seniors may need to find new Medicare Coverage if they are enrolled in a Cost Plan, in order to keep coverage for 2019.

Due to a change in federal law, many Minnesota seniors with a specific type of Medicare plan, known as a “Cost Plan,” may need to enroll in new Medicare coverage for 2019.

Medicare Cost Plans are offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Health Partners, and Medica. These plans have a variety of names.

How do I tell if I have a Cost Plan?

The Minnesota Commerce Department notes that of the one million Minnesota seniors who have Medicare, only 370,000 have Cost Plans. To confirm whether or not you have this type of plan, call the number on the back of an insurance card.

For now, seniors don’t have to take action, but will receive information about how to obtain new Medicare coverage for 2019.

THe Minnesota Departmet of Commerce is working to provide a smooth transition in coverage for seniors, coordinating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), state agencies, insurance companies, and other organizations to serve seniors in the best way.

How will Minnesota seniors with Medicare Cost Plans be affected for 2019?

Not all seniors with Cost Plans will be affected in the same way. Some will be able to keep their plans, and CMS will provide the list of counties where seniors can keep their plans in 2019.

Many will be moved to a Medicare Advantage Plan with their same company, but will be able to opt out and select a different plan or supplement policy.

The  Department estimates that 200,000 residents will need to take action to replace their cost plans


Get more information from Medicare by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visiting

Minnesota Senior LinkAgeLine also provides information. Call 1-800-333-2433 statewide or visit This is the State Health Insurance Program.

The Minnesota Commerce Department ca also provide information. It is the state regulator for insurance companies, brokers and agents. Call 651-539-1600 or 1-800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota), or visit to learn more and to find out the brand names for these plans.

Source: Minnesota Department of Commerce.