Health insurance rates in Ohio will increase in 2015, although the rate hikes may be relatively modest for most of the major companies with the largest market share. Next year’s prices have been filed with the Oh Department of Insurance, and will be subsequently approved, or sent back for revision. The Department of Health And Human Services (HHS) must also approve any changes to Obamacare policies.
There is great uncertainty when attempting to project the most appropriate price to charge consumers for their medical coverage here in the Buckeye state. There also is not a a substantial amount of data that is available from the 2014 Open Enrollment. And very few claims have been processed and studied. 16 carriers have filed to do business in the Buckeye state for 2015. This represents one of the largest number of companies in any state.
Information on enrollee demographics, popularity of plans and market share can be easily studied. But the impact of offering every applicant guaranteed coverage may not be known for a few years. So although it’s not a crapshoot, it’s safe to say it’s an educated guess when determining what rates to charge in 2015.
We researched all state filings and carrier information in predicting what to expect next year:
Anthem Blue Cross – Although their initial request is a 9% increase, many of the most popular plans will probably see lower price hikes. For example, although some Bronze plans will see double-digit increases, others will rise by less than 5%. The popular Silver plans offer the unique “cost-sharing” feature that substantially lowers your deductible if you qualify for federal subsidies.
The catastrophic option, one of Anthem’s cheapest plans in Ohio, and which is available to applicants under age 30, or anyone else that can show they can not afford other available options, will remain inexpensive, although benefits are limited and the deductible is above $6,000.
Medical Mutual – Non-profit MM is asking for an average increase just under 8% which brings its average monthly premium to about $400 for all plans. Of course Catastrophic and Bronze policies are the least expensive. The Northeastern portion of the state is where Medical Mutual is the most competitive.
Some enhancements for 2015 include better mental health and cardiac rehabilitation benefits. However, like many carriers MM will discontinue covering ER visits that are not a true emergency or if the treatment occurs outside the US. Also, skilled nursing facility benefits will reduce.
UnitedHealthcare - UHC markets Ohio plans under the “Golden Rule” trademark, although they may be using a different company for 2015 “on-Exchange” policies. In 2014, they did not participate in the Marketplace festivities. However, their “short-term” plan has been very popular for consumers that either forgot to enroll or simply wanted the cheapest option, regardless of non-compliance issues.
Although UHC rates were a bit high in the Buckeye state for 2014, by sitting out a year and observing, they may have learned a few things. We expect their Bronze and possibly catastrophic offerings to be the most popular.
HealthSpan – If you don’t recognize their name, you’re not alone. HealthSpan purchased Kaiser Permanante’s block of business last year and began selling products under their own name. They are projecting a 6%-8% price increase for the Northeastern portion of the state. Their HSA product is expected, once again, to be one of their best available products.
Aetna - Welcome back Aetna! For many years, especially from 2009-2011, Aetna was very active in the individual Ohio health insurance market, and featured very competitive rates. Smokers and females age 50 and over were their best niches. But they did not participate in the 2014 Exchange in most states including ours.
For 2015, they will concentrate on Cuyahoga County and the Cleveland area. Aetna is also reducing prices by approximately 6%-8% which should make it an attractive option, especially considering its large provider network. Coventry, a company they recently purchased, will concentrate on other states. But it is still undetermined if the Cleveland Clinic will be part of their network.
Assurant - Recently, Assurant’s rates have not been competitive. In fact, from 2010-2013, often their prices for standard plans were about 40%-80% higher than most other companies. In 2013, they did not offer on-Exchange plans, although several off-Marketplace policies were available. However, for many years, Assurant (also known as Time) was one of the few carriers to offer “child only” plans on a short-term basis.
Their 2015 rate request would place them about 30% (on average) higher than Medical Mutual. While Assurant may gather some market share, we don’t expect the final numbers to be significant.
CareSource - Based in Dayton, CareSource used to be known as “Dayton Area Health Plan.” They specialized in managed-care coverage for Medicaid recipients prior to the 2013 Exchange, which saw them offer numerous plans to consumers. No information is available regarding their projected 2015 pricing.
SummaCare – Although only a regional carrier, (Northern portion of the state), SummaCare offered competitive prices in 2014 through four plans (Individual 750, 5000, 6350 and Value). They were all fully-compliant and often priced slightly less than Medical Mutual. There is no advanced information available on their 2015 projected rates.
Molina Healthcare – Most persons haven’t heard of Molina since they don’t participate in all portions of the state. Although they only started offering coverage in 1980, they have grown to become a Fortune 500 company. They offer a Bronze, a Gold, and four Silver plans at reasonable rates. For 2015, they have increased prices in some states, and projected decreases in others (Washington State).
Molina’s rates next year should remain about the same, with increases in certain counties. They do not offer coverage in all areas and typically are not competitive in most counties.
InHealth – Based in Westerville, this small company makes its Marketplace debut in 2015. Although they offered selected plans to consumers last year privately, like Molina, they are not a widely-known company. InHealth is expected to raise prices by about 10% compared to last year’s rates. However, they will still be extremely competitive with most other carriers, and probably one of the least expensive companies in many parts of the state.
Aultcare – Offering plans mostly in the Northern portion of the state, this regional carrier writes a lot of business in Summit, Medina, Stark, Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Carroll and Holmes counties. There has been no formal announcement regarding any price changes for 2015.
We will keep you updated on any changes or projections for Ohio Health Insurance Exchange plans for 2015. Additional Marketplace information regarding prices or policy availability will be regularly updated.