Recently the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services announced the final rate decisions for both individual and small business health insurance for plan year 2018.
What has changed for individuals?
In the Individual market, the average change is from a 1.6% decrease to a 14.8% increase across the state of Oregon (these numbers are an average across the state). This may lead several people that are currently on an individual plan to reconsider signing up for their employer's group plan. Employers who previously decided to drop their group health plan may find it more cost effective to go back to offering a small group health plan to their employees.
Below are the 2018 Final Proposed Rate Decisions (that can also be found here).
Here is a look at the individual rate increases:
All Oregonians who are currently purchasing their own individual plans - and even those who do not receive financial help - are encouraged to apply for assistance through the Marketplace for 2018.
What has changed for employers?
If you are an employer, you may notice an increase in employee participation at your next open enrollment period.
For the small group market, the insurance division is seeing average rate increases for 2018 ranging from 3.3% to 10.1%.
Here are the final rate increases for the small group market:
Why are these increases happening?
Some reasons include:
The new Oregon Reinsurance program which reduces the individual market rates by 6% and added a 1.5% increase to the small group market. The reinsurance program was developed by the Governor and is designed to stabilize the individual market, reduce rates, and to encourage insurance companies to offer plans in more parts of the state. It is a mechanism to spread the risk of high-cost claims to that no one carrier takes on more risk than another.
The recent Federal weakening of the individual mandate enforcement which has caused an increase in rates by 2.4% to 5.1%.
Prescription drug costs are rising as well as the medical cost. (Specialized drugs are a big driver of this.)
Cost of care is surpassing the premiums collected to cover people.
What should you do to prepare for 2018?
Start early as possible.
Consider using pre-tax (or government money) to build a better overall benefits package.
Supplemental and innovative plan designs can help you accomplish your goals.
We are hoping to see the 2018 plan designs and rates for the insurance carriers by mid-September. Stay tuned for more information or contact get-benefits today to learn more.