Hoosiers face higher premiums, fewer choices for Obamacare coverage

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Hoosiers looking for health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace for next year will see fewer choices and double-digit premium increases on most plans.

The Indiana Department of Insurance approved six plans submitted by insurers and posted the rates on its website late Wednesday. Insurance companies have been warning for months that their rates would increase next year, saying they have been losing millions of dollars on the market.

The higher premiums mean that people who buy health insurance on the market under the Affordable Care Act can expect to dig deeper to pay the premiums, although many people are eligible for subsidies or tax credits.

The average premiums range from an increase of 29 percent by Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. to a decrease of 5.3 percent by Chicago-based Celtic Insurance Co.

CareSource Indiana Inc. will increase average premiums by 16 percent, IU Health Plans by 14.9 percent, and MDwise Marketplace Inc. by 11.5 percent. Coordinated Care Corp. had no change, although its average premium next year will be $680.48, the most expensive on the market.

Anthem’s increase means its members will pay an average premium of $562 next year. Increases in its various plans range from 19.8 percent to 41.1 percent.

An Anthem spokesman said in May that the higher rates are intended to cover anticipated claims costs driven by the increased use of medical services and higher drug costs.

The company also blamed the federal government’s elimination of a cost-control mechanism known as reinsurance that was designed to help stabilize premiums. The insurer sells individual plans to fewer than 100,000 people on and off the marketplace.

Several other insurers have left the individual market, including Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana, which announced its departure this week, calling it a business decision to avoid “millions of dollars in losses.” The company will continue to sell small group plans.

The average increases in Indiana appear to lag some other states. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that insurance regulators have approved an average jump of 62 percent for the biggest plan in Tennessee and increases of about 43 percent in Mississippi and 23 percent in Kentucky.

Insurance companies have said that without steep increases in premiums, they would have to leave the market.


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