Arkansas: State Expects to Reject Marketplace Insurers' Proposed Rate Increases
Arkansas's Insurance Commissioner said he expects to deny four insurers' proposed 2017 rate increases for individual policies sold on the Marketplace, saying that at this time there is not “sufficient justification to properly consider” the rate increases. Because the insurers have proposed rate increases—which range from 14.7% to 23.8%—that exceed 10%, they were required to submit justifications to the Insurance Department. The Insurance Department must approve rate proposals by the end of August. More than 73,000 individuals selected private plans on the Marketplace in 2016, along with 240,000 that are enrolled through the State's Medicaid expansion.
Kentucky: State Believes It Has Met CMS Milestones for Transition to HealthCare.gov
Governor Matt Bevin’s (R) administration announced that it has demonstrated adequate progress by CMS’ June 1 deadline to continue transitioning from kynect, the State-based Marketplace, to HealthCare.gov for 2017 open enrollment. The communications director for the State’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the State has met criteria set out by CMS, but has not provided details of these milestones. Obama administration officials are reportedly “encouraged by the progress made to date” but note that “significant work remains.” Over 85,000 Kentuckians have enrolled in qualified health plans through Kynect.
Ohio: Insurance Department to Liquidate Co-Op, Enrollees to Switch Coverage Within 60 Days
The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) will assume receivership and wind down operations of InHealth Mutual, the State's nonprofit Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (Co-Op), following an ODI assessment that the Co-Op "would end the year with negative $20 million in assets if it were to continue to operate." InHealth's 22,000 policy holders, who represent approximately 9% of Ohio's Marketplace enrollees, must switch to another policy offered on HealthCare.gov within the next sixty days to retain federal healthcare subsidies.
Oregon: State Will Maintain HealthCare.gov for Marketplace Enrollment Platform
Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services has decided to continue using HealthCare.gov for the State’s Marketplace enrollment platform based on its finding that switching to another state enrollment platform would cost $3 million more than the $31 million it is likely to cost to continue using HealthCare.gov. The Department compared the costs associated with a new HealthCare.gov assessment on qualified health plans (which begins at 1.5% of premiums but may increase to 3% in future years) with three vendors’ proposals to build Oregon’s second State-based Marketplace platform. Additionally, building a State-based Marketplace would require Oregon to hire a minimum of 80 additional staff to support the call center and operate eligibility and enrollment. Oregon began using HealthCare.gov after the original State-based Marketplace, Cover Oregon, was shut down.
CMS is conducting an “employer verification survey” requesting information about the lowest-cost health insurance offered to employees, as reported by InsideHealthPolicy.com. The information will be used to ascertain whether employees provided accurate information about their employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) when they applied for HealthCare.gov coverage. For the first time, CMS is also sending some employers notifications this year identifying any employees who claimed that they were not offered minimal, affordable coverage and were therefore eligible for tax subsidies. Employers with more than 50 employees are subject to fines if they fail to offer minimal, affordable coverage to an employee who receives subsidized coverage on a Marketplace, or if they do not offer coverage at all.