Premiums in Michigan’s individual market may rise 28 percent

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people who buy their own health insurance on Michigan’s individual market could see premiums rise by an eye-popping 28 percent on average next year if President Donald Trump follows through on a threat to cut billions of dollars in payments to insurers, state officials warned Friday.

Average premiums would range from 16.5 percent to 59.4 percent, depending on the company. The two insurers covering six in 10 of the nearly 300,000 residents who shop for their own coverage, Blue Care Network and Blue Cross, would boost premiums on average by 22.6 percent and 31.7 percent respectively.

State Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Patrick McPharlin said the size of the proposed increases is partially due to uncertainty over whether the federal government will continue to reimburse insurance companies for providing required financial assistance to low-income customers. It was not immediately clear what the rate hikes would be if the cost-sharing payments continue.

About 80 percent of Michigan customers on the federally controlled marketplace qualify for tax credits to offset their premium costs, making it difficult to say what they would actually pay each month out of pocket in 2018.

The state is seeking public comment on the proposed rates until Sept. 15, though historically state and federal officials have not altered the requests. Premiums rose by an average of nearly 17 percent this year.

The companies’ average rate hike are composites — some customers renewing their coverage will see bigger premium increases and others lower ones depending on where they live, if they smoke and other factors. They also may choose to move to a different plan.

Open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and continues through Dec. 15. Nine insurers — one fewer than this year and five fewer than in 2016 — plan to participate in the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace next year. Another will sell individual insurance outside the government exchange.

For months, Trump — a critic of the federal health care law — has been threatening to stop payments that reimburse insurers for reducing copays and deductibles for lower-income people. The cost-sharing subsidies are under a legal cloud because of a dispute over whether the Affordable Care Act properly approved the payments. Other parts of the health law, however, clearly direct the government to reimburse insurers.

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  • Kevin Rahe

    The premiums for my family’s “grandmothered” not-fully-ACA-compliant plan are going up only 3% this year. Too bad we won’t be allowed to keep it past the end of next year without a change in the law. The ACA has proven to be unsustainable. The government simply cannot promise to bridge the gap between a percentage of someone’s income and the price of a commodity offered by a private party. The problem that underlies all others in the health care realm is the high and ever-rising cost of care. The reform we need is to put more people in touch with the cost of their care – especially the basic and routine variety – which is the only way to keep prices in check short of monopolizing the consumer side of the market. Unfortunately the framers of the ACA ignored the real problem and largely did the opposite.

  • Not racist, not violent, but no longer silent

    We went on Samaritan’s Ministry cost sharing.. applied for ACA – Obama care multiple times. Not eligible – but too much income for Medicaid – then being “penalized” or “taxed” for not having insurance… I don’t know how anyone can make it on regular insurance. We have friends with 3 kids who pay $1400/mo. plus have a $18,000 deductible. So much for affordable.

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