The fury to sign up for an individual health insurance plan in Missouri for 2014 has finally come to an end. However, we must immediately turn our sights to the changes coming for the Missouri Health Insurance Exchange in 2015. The insurance companies participating in the exchanges are due to have initial rates submitted for 2015 by the end of June, with the final rate applied rates due on September 4th.
In Missouri and Kansas the participating carriers Coventry Health Care of Missouri and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City are expected to again have plan offerings on the exchange for 2015. In addition, it is quite possible; another large insurer could enter the fray. Humana, Cigna, or United Health Care could be likely participants. The rates for 2015 are expected to rise, but the exact amount is totally up in the air. Aetna has plans in 17 states covering 132 rating areas and its CEO Mark Bertolini says increases could range from “the very low single digits” to “some that will be over double digits.” While most Missourian’s increases should be low enough to manage, there is some concern that plans in lower populated counties with smaller health networks may see steep increases or lose some exchange plans all together. The off exchange plans will still be available, but those plans are purchased without any subsidy in areas where they are often needed the most.
Finally, as we go forward with our new Affordable Healthcare Act the most critical component in keeping premium rates under control will be signing up enough young adults “healthier people” to offset the premiums for the older adults “sicker people”. The actual numbers on the ages of participants is still unknown, but generally speaking the more young adults sign up the less rates will increase. We will follow this closely as more information is released.