California: Marketplace Announces Two New Issuers and Modest Rate Increases for 2016

Covered California announced that United Healthcare and Oscar Health Plan of California will begin offering Qualified Health Plans (QHP) for the first time in select regions during the 2016 Open Enrollment Period in addition to tentative 2016 QHP premium rates. The statewide weighted average premium rate will increase by 4% for 2016, compared to 4.2% during the previous year, which Kevin Counihan, the CMS CEO of Health Insurance Marketplaces, said “demonstrates that the Affordable Care Act is working as intended to spur competition and transparency in the Marketplaces…”. The tentative rates are subject to a 60-day public comment period and final approval by state regulators.

Louisiana: Co-Op Leaving Marketplace at End of 2015

The Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc. (LAHC) announced that it will no longer participate in the State’s Marketplace for the 2016 open enrollment period (OEP) and will end coverage for its nearly 17,000 current members at the end of 2015 due to financial unsustainability. LAHC had requested a 23% rate increase for OEP 2016, citing a medical loss ratio of 113% and a sicker than expected membership. LAHC is the second of 23 insurance co-ops established and supported by the ACA to end operations due to financial difficulties, following CoOportunity Health's closure in Iowa and Nebraska this February.