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Maryland announces exchange rates
Old 07-27-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
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Maryland announces exchange rates

Maryland insurance officials approved final rates for health insurance exchanges in 2014. The rates are among the lowest announced rates in the country. There are 9 insurers. Here's an article:

Maryland issues insurance rates that are among lowest in U.S. - The Washington Post

So far, the state website has only 2 sample rates: bronze plan rates for 25 year old non-smokers, and silver plan rates for 50 year old non-smokers. The rates vary among 4 different geographic areas within Maryland.
Here's a link to the rates. Click on the regional geographic heading, not the table, to see the rates for each region:

Maryland Insurance Administration - Home Page
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Old 07-27-2013, 03:30 PM   #2
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Looks good. It's interesting how much reduction there was between "requested" and "approved" in the tables.

Some of us won't be so lucky:

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Old 07-27-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Looks good. It's interesting how much reduction there was between "requested" and "approved" in the tables.

Some of us won't be so lucky:
Great, Harry. Stick another fork in me. I am one of the five that doesn't.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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Great, Harry. Stick another fork in me. I am one of the five that doesn't.
Well, you and I may not be done yet, Mulligan.

After posting that, I discovered that those of us in states that currently go easy on health insurance rates may benefit from being in the federal exchange.

I found information that suggests the feds WILL be negotiating with providers, unlike our state regulators.

http://www.alexander.senate.gov/publ...d-dd7d53d1bd10

(Caution, contents are political. The letter is from Congressional R's opposed to the ACA. My point is that the bullet points say HHS is negotiating rates and terms.)
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post

Well, you and I may not be done yet, Mulligan.

After posting that, I discovered that those of us in states that currently go easy on health insurance rates may benefit from being in the federal exchange.

I found information that suggests the feds WILL be negotiating with providers, unlike our state regulators.

http://www.alexander.senate.gov/publ...d-dd7d53d1bd10

(Caution, contents are political. The letter is from Congressional R's opposed to the ACA. My point is that the bullet points say HHS is negotiating rates and terms.)
I read Harry that it looks like September 1 before our rates will be released. Glad you found info that suggests maybe someone will negotiate ours down a bit too. I take it that my state never has had any regulatory oversight on premiums. Yet my rates have been dirt cheap, and have only went up less than 15% over 3 plus years that I have had it. In fact it really hadn't raised at all until last month when the increase directly amounted to the cost of the mandatory "free yearly" doctor visit that is now included in the
plan.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
I found information that suggests the feds WILL be negotiating with providers, unlike our state regulators.
From the WashPo article:

Quote:
Dan Mendelson, chief executive of Avalere Health, a health-care consulting firm tracking implementation of the health-care overhaul, said Marylandís low rates are consistent with states where there is strong competition among insurance carriers and among hospitals and other provider networks. Nationally, the rates approved or proposed so far have been below analystsí expectations, Mendelson said.
To the degree the ACA exchange construct helps encourage competition (and it does, in some ways), I've got more faith that this will reduce rates (and increase quality) more effectively than governmental setting/approval of rates--whether that's at the state or federal level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
In fact [premiums] really hadn't raised at all until last month when the increase directly amounted to the cost of the mandatory "free yearly" doctor visit that is now included in the plan.
Now we know how much a "free" visit costs.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Well, you and I may not be done yet, Mulligan.

After posting that, I discovered that those of us in states that currently go easy on health insurance rates may benefit from being in the federal exchange.
This was going to be my thought. In a state like Texas which largely disdains regulations on industry in general and insurers in particular, it's probably for the best that Texas is participating in the federal exchange, where I assume the rate reviews will be done federally, not in Austin.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:05 PM   #8
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To the degree the ACA exchange construct helps encourage competition (and it does, in some ways), I've got more faith that this will reduce rates (and increase quality) more effectively than governmental setting/approval of rates--whether that's at the state or federal level.
I think we saw that in Oregon. When the state posted preliminary rates submitted by insurers and consumers could compare apples to apples, we saw the higher-cost insurers making changes to their filings to make their rates competitive. If nothing else this gives the potential to allow consumers to be much better informed with much more transparent pricing.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 07-28-2013, 12:46 PM   #9
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I'm happy to return this hijacked thread back to a Maryland focus.

Here's an interesting analysis collection of speculative quotes discussing the differences between the "submitted" and "approved" rates in Maryland:

Maryland Regulators Slash Rates For Obamacare Insurance Policies - Kaiser Health News

Quote:
Citing what they called flawed data and unreasonable assumptions, Maryland insurance regulators on Friday sharply reduced prices for health plans that will be sold to individuals and families through the state's insurance marketplace starting Oct. 1.


In some cases, the final premiums were cut by a third for the Maryland Health Connection exchange, pleasing advocates of affordable coverage but prompting others to question whether such low prices can be sustained.


Regulators reduced prices for all nine carriers filing to sell policies in the marketplace.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
I'm happy to return this hijacked thread back to a Maryland focus.

Here's an interesting analysis collection of speculative quotes discussing the differences between the "submitted" and "approved" rates in Maryland:

Maryland Regulators Slash Rates For Obamacare Insurance Policies - Kaiser Health News
It is quite possible the first year rates are meaningless concerning future years. If the regulators are wrong, rates will jump quickly no matter what they think, if they want companies to participate in the exchange.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
I'm happy to return this hijacked thread back to a Maryland focus.

Here's an interesting analysis collection of speculative quotes discussing the differences between the "submitted" and "approved" rates in Maryland:

Maryland Regulators Slash Rates For Obamacare Insurance Policies - Kaiser Health News
3 of the 9 Maryland carriers had very small reductions from their submitted rates. One of them, Kaiser, had only a 1% reduction.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:09 AM   #12
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3 of the 9 Maryland carriers had very small reductions from their submitted rates. One of them, Kaiser, had only a 1% reduction.
This is the first link that we have had that shows what a 50 year old would pay which is just about where I am at. Assuming I would not take the rock bottom rate one, that would send me to a medical shack with no electricity and a 6 week waiting list, my rate is looking more and more about to be somewhere close to 300% more than I currently pay. At least it is looking better than Kaiser's guestimates a few months ago.
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:52 PM   #13
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One thing that just hit me...I guess those rates are just for health insurance, while dental/vision will still be separate? My portion of my health insurance is about $92 every two weeks right now, but then I had to stop and remember that about $2 of that is vision, and about $8 is dental, so the health part is about $82.

Those rates don't sound too horrible to me. Right now I'm 43, single, and have the best plan my company offers (it had been the second best, but then what had been the best got the axe). And just my portion is about $178 per month. Some of those choices for a 50 year old are less than $100 per month more, and that's assuming you have to pick up the whole tab!

This is making ER all that much more tempting!
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
This is the first link that we have had that shows what a 50 year old would pay which is just about where I am at. Assuming I would not take the rock bottom rate one, that would send me to a medical shack with no electricity and a 6 week waiting list, my rate is looking more and more about to be somewhere close to 300% more than I currently pay. At least it is looking better than Kaiser's guestimates a few months ago.
I'm curious what kind of policy you have now if you're only paying 1/3 of one of the Maryland rates you saw, because that sounds extremely inexpensive for a policy for a 50 year old. I would guess it's either a catastrophic policy with a very high deductible, or you're not paying the entire premium yourself.

Those Maryland rates look cheaper than my current COBRA rate for a policy that is, at best, equivalent to a "silver" plan.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:57 PM   #15
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I'm curious what kind of policy you have now if you're only paying 1/3 of one of the Maryland rates you saw, because that sounds extremely inexpensive for a policy for a 50 year old. I would guess it's either a catastrophic policy with a very high deductible, or you're not paying the entire premium yourself.

Those Maryland rates look cheaper than my current COBRA rate for a policy that is, at best, equivalent to a "silver" plan.
Well ignorance bliss as the say until you find out the truth! When I retired 3 years ago, I had the choice of staying on my group plan $500 a month ($1k deductible, standard co-pays) or taking an open market non subsidized individual plan. It was $76 a month, with $5500 deductible, ($0 payment after deductible met). Being totally healthy at 45, I said I will just join BCBS Anthem get an HSA, and hell I can actually make a small profit on owing health insurance provided I stay healthy. The strategy has paid off beautifully for me until now. Over 3 years later it still is only $88, so I can't complain. As recently as 6 months ago, I checked that a healthy 60 year old would have only paid about $130 for the plan. But through informative people here on this forum, I learned why my insurance is so cheap. MO is an underwriting state with very few regs in the insurance industry. So I guess I was playing a nice little game with the insurance company. They provided low cost insurance to healthy people who never need it. They in return keep most of premiums, and very few people file claims. A nice little system provided you are not on the outside looking in, because you have health issues and the company wont let you join the fun, or they jack your individual price up to accommodate for the potential expenses you cause them to pay for. FWIW- I understand why we are having Obamacare, but that doesn't mean my wallet won't shed a tear every time I cut the check for the 300% plus increase I am staring at to enjoy one of "new and exciting plans offered in January" ( BCBS words, not mine).
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