Health Insurer News May 16 – May 30 2016

health insurance company news

Update 5/31 8:00AM ET

Health insurer news (and state marketplace) stories from across the web taking place during the 2nd half of May 2016.  This post will be updated daily so please check back for updates.

Last month the news of UnitedHealth exiting the marketplace was the big news.  for the next one to two months it will likely be the filing of 2017 health insurance rates by health insurance companies and released by various exchanges.

[wpanchor id=”1″]District of Columbia health insurers file 2017 rate proposalsRates were filed for 18 individual health plans down from 26 in 2016.  Participating health insurance companies include Aetna, Carefirst BCBS, Kaiser Permanente, and UnitedHealth.

Maryland proposed rate increases for 2017.  Proposed rates from health insurers Carefirst BCBS, Cigna, Evergreen Health Cooperative, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

2017 Proposed health insurance rates avg. 8%+ in Vermont.  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is requesting avg. rate increase of 8.2% while MVP healthcare is seeking 8.8%.

Premera and subsidiary Lifewise to pull out of 12 counties in Washington StateThe withdrawal from the Washington state footprint will impact ~17,000 members.

An early look at 2017 Maine health insurance rate requests: Anthem BCBS (14.1% on avg.), Harvard Pilgrim [wpanchor id=”2″](18.7%), HPHC Insurance (24.4%), and the largest insurer in the state Maine Community Health Options (22.8%).


May 17 Update

Three states down to one Obamacare insurerAlaska, Alabama, and Wyoming are down to one Obamacare insurer.  What happens if a state or area has zero?

Washington State proposed Obamacare rate increases for 2017 avg. 13.5% 13 health insurers in Washington have filed proposed rates on 154 different health plan options for 2017.  Avg. increase was 13.5% –compared with 4.2% in 2016.

Health insurer losses on Obamacare deepened in year 2.  McKinsey report estimated margins to be -9 to -11% on Obamacare plans on avg. (2015) compared with -4.8% in 2014


May 18 Update:

Highmark suing Federal Gov’t for $223M in Obamacare risk corridor payments. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is suing the Government for not following though on promise to reimburse insurers for excessive claims losses resulting from Obamacare plans in the first few years.

Maine healthcare co-op Community Health Options loses less than expected.  Community Health Options dipped into reserves 13% less than anticipated in 1Q 2016 to cover claims.  Encouraging but its only one quarter.

United Health subsidiary Golden Rule will still participate off exchange in Colorado.  Although United Health has [wpanchor id=”3″]pulled out of Colorado insurance marketplace for 2017, subsidiary Golden Rule will continue to offer individual health plans off-exchange in Colorado.

Health insurance start-up Oscar seeks rate increases as high as 30%.  On the heals of modest 4.5% rate increase last year, Oscar is seeking increases ranging from 8% -30% driven by $100M+ in losses last year in New York and New Jersey

UnitedHealth health plan subsidiary Harken Health adds health centers in Chicago & Atlanta After beginning to sell on-exchange in Jan 2016, Harken Health enrolled 33,000 members in 1Q.


May 19 Update:

UnitedHealth announces exit of another Obamacare marketplace.  UnitedHealth subsidiary Oxford Health Plan will exit the New Jersey Obamacare marketplace.  As of end of 2015 Oxford had ~8,250 members enrolled in their individual health plans.

2017 New York rate requests.   Weighted avg. increase requests for 2017 is 17.3% for individual health plans.

Will health insurers exiting exchanges still offer plans off-exchange? Michelle Andrews from Kaiser Health News [wpanchor id=”4″]answers that question and some others related to health insurance coverage.

BCBS New Mexico back on sate exchange after 1 yr. hiatusBlue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico will be back for 2017 after leaving exchange in 2016 after regulators their 52% rate increase that year.

Aetna to join Maine exchange in 2017.  Aetna previously only sold plans off-exchange for Maine residents.


May 25th Update:

Largest health insurer in Arkansas requests 14.7% avg. increase for 2017 BCBS Arkansas is seeking a 14.7% avg. [wpanchor id=”5″]increase for 2017.  In addition, Qualchoice is seeking a 23%+ avg. increase in Arkansas

Georgia Obamacare rate increases for 2017 look to be high BCBS Georgia’s requested rate increases avg. 9.1% to 14.8%.  Humana’s avg. requested rate increase a whopping 65.2%.  UnitedHealth subsidiary Harken Health is requesting 44% on avg.

CMS releases searchable database of all rate requests for 2017


May 26th Update:

HarkenHealth to sell Obamacare plans in South FloridaUnitedHealth subsidiary HarkenHealth will sell Obamacare plans on-exchange in 2017 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Pennsylvania Obamacare rate increase requests avg. 23.6% for 2017Some health insurance companies such as [wpanchor id=”6″]Highmark and Geisinger asking for 40%+

Kentucky requested rate increases avg. 22.3%Requests range from 7.6% for Aetna to 33.7% for Humana

UnitedHealth to exit Mississippi exchange marketplace. 18,000+ existing policyholders will be effected and need to [wpanchor id=”7″]select another plan by Jan 1 2017


May 27th Update:

Start Up health insurer begins in Colorado marketplace.  Minneapolis based health insurer start-up Bright Health selects Colorado as it’s initial market for launch.

Ohio Co-op Inhealth shutting down.  21,800 members effected, mostly with individual health coverage.

Coventry & Wellmark BCBS seek steep ’17 rate increases in IowaCoventry seeks 23% rate increase on avg. and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield requesting 38-43% rate increases.


May 31st Update:

Carefirst BCBS subsidiary in Virginia to drop Bronze plans.  Bronze plans seem to be losing favor with insurers. 23% of shoppers signed up for bronze plans in 2016 compared with 68% choosing silver.

BCBSNC files for avg. 18.8% rate increase for 2017. The largest health insurance carrier in North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC is requesting an avg. rate increase of 18.8% for individual health plans for 2017.




Previous health insurer news updates:

May health insurance company news,

Health insurer news April 16th – April 30th,

April health insurer news. 

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