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Only two insurers to offer Obamacare plans in Indiana next year

June 22, 2017

Hoosiers seeking health insurance on the Obamacare marketplace will have just two choices next year, down from four now, and will likely pay higher premiums.

The Indiana Department of Insurance on Thursday posted submissions on its web site, showing that only two insurers, CareSource Indiana Inc. and Celtic Insurance Co. (also known as Managed Health Services) submitted proposals for individual plans next year under the Affordable Care Act.

Celtic, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Centene Corp., is seeking a rate increase of 24 percent, for an average monthly premium of $452. CareSource is seeking a rate increase of 2.2 percent, for an average monthly premium of $423.88.

The state has not approved the rate requests yet, so the changes could be more or less than requested. Prices won’t be set until this fall for next year’s coverage.

Nationwide, prices for individual insurance could rise between 28 percent and 40 percent on average, according to a prediction by Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting, The Associated Press reported.

Two major insurers, Anthem Inc. and MDwise Marketplace, on Wednesday said they would drop out of the Indiana exchanges next year, citing growing uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act.  Together, they represent about 77,000 members who must now find other health plans.

Four Indiana counties—Grant, Posey, Warrick and Wayne—could have no exchange options next year without Anthem and MDwise, according to data compiled by The Associated Press and consulting firm Avalere. About 4,600 people bought exchange coverage in those counties this year, with some 175,000 statewide.

The volatility in Obamacare markets comes as Congress is considering legislation that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On Thursday, the Senate unveiled a bill, written without public hearings, that would cut and revamp Medicaid, end penalties on people not buying coverage and eliminate tax increases that financed the law's expansion of coverage.

Last year, six insurers submitted Obamacare plans to the state, many with higher rates. The average premiums for the insurers ranged from an increase of 29 percent by Anthem Inc. to a decrease of 5.3 percent by Chicago-based Celtic.

Two of those insurers have since pulled out: Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana and IU Health Plans.

Many insurers, like Anthem, have said they are worried about the future of the exchanges, which generally make up a small slice of their business but have generated steep losses for them and soaring prices for many customers.

 

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