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.

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