Michigan Maintains a Strong Lineup of Insurers in the 2018 Marketplace, Despite Uncertainty from the Federal Government
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2017
(LANSING) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced today that consumers will continue to have a robust choice of insurers offering health insurance through the Marketplace for the 2018 plan year.
“Despite the uncertainty at the federal level, Michigan still has a number of companies participating this year, providing many choices for Michigan consumers,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin. “Residents of every county in the state will be able to choose from at least two insurers, while some counties will have as many as eight or nine.”
DIFS released the Michigan Health Insurance Rate Change Request Charts for both individual and small group policies, information that is published annually to show proposed average rate changes. The proposed rate increases for plan year 2018 range from 16.5% to 59.4%.
The size of the increases this year is partially due to the uncertainty as to whether the federal government will continue to fund Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers on the Marketplace are required to provide financial assistance under plans covering individuals up to 250% of the federal poverty level and eligible American Indians. The CSR payments allow insurers to meet that legal obligation without increasing rates. The President has indicated he does not support these payments, and the federal government is currently making them on a month-to-month basis.
To ensure the availability of coverage for Michigan residents from insurers that have adequate rates to support the benefits to be provided to consumers, DIFS has proactively required insurers to submit two sets of rates for 2018. The first set of rates assumes the federal government will not fund CSR payments. These rates are, therefore, higher. The second set of rates assumes the CSR payments will be made. Absent a commitment from the federal government to issue CSR payments, the higher rates will be approved for 2018.
“If we receive a commitment that the CSR payments will be made, we are hopeful insurers will be allowed to change to the lower set of rates,” McPharlin said.
In addition to the rates, the charts also show the number of affected individuals, and various statistics about plan offerings, including the number of plans experiencing 10% or greater rate increases. They also provide tracking numbers to easily access DIFS’ SERFF portal for detailed rate information. Approved rate changes will be added to the chart on or before November 1, 2017.
When reviewing the charts, it is important to note that:
- Rate changes are an average percent change across all plans offered by an insurer.
- An increase or decrease does not reflect how a health insurer’s premiums compare to other insurers’ premiums.
- Individuals who receive a tax credit that covers a portion of their premium will experience rate changes that differ due to the tax credit calculation.
DIFS is seeking public comment on these proposed rates. Comments submitted prior to September 15, 2017 will be considered in DIFS’ review. Comments should be sent electronically to HealthRateComments@michigan.gov.
Open enrollment for 2018 begins on November 1, 2017 and continues through December 15, 2017. Consumers are encouraged to contact their insurer, agent, or navigator regarding these proposed rates. There are also shopping tools, rate comparisons and resources available on the DIFS Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program’s (HICAP) website, www.michigan.gov/hicap and the Healthcare.gov website.