State approves health insurance increases: Blue Cross is 2.9%

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 820 views 

The Arkansas Insurance Department has approved individual health insurance rate increases ranging from 2.9% for Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield to 4.9% for Ambetter.

Average rate increases, with the insurers’ original requests and the approximate number of affected covered lives, are as follows.

– Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield: 2.9% approved; 2.9% requested; 160,300 affected lives
– Qualchoice Life and Health Insurance Company: 3.006% approved; 11.215% requested; 25,434 affected lives
– QCA Health Plan, Inc.: 3.046% approved; 11.258% requested; 25,515 affected lives
– Celtic Insurance Company, doing business as Ambetter; 4.911% approved; 13.267% requested; 64,776 affected lives

The changes take effect Jan. 1 and reflect increases for all the plans’ beneficiaries. Costs will differ based on age, geography and other factors.

The approved rate increase for Blue Cross follows approved increases of 2.89% in 2020, 4.4% in 2019, and 14.2% in 2018.

The company wrote $876.9 million in premiums in 2019 and paid $734.7 million in claims. In 2021, it projects premiums of $894.5 million and claims of $765 million.

Qualchoice’s approved rate increase follows approved increases of .51% in 2020, 1.06% in 2019, and 24.78% in 2018.

The company wrote $173.4 million in premiums in 2019 and paid claims of $128.4 million. In 2021, it projects premiums of $145.8 million and claims of $120.1 million.

QCA Heath Plan’s approved rate increase follows increases of .51% in 2020, 1.59% in 2019, and 24.47% in 2018. The company wrote $173.4 million in premiums in 2019 and paid claims of $128.4 million. In 2021, it projects premiums of $143.8 million and claims of $118.5 million.

Ambetter’s approved rate increase follows increases of 1.9% in 2020, 4.6% in 2019, and 21.4% in 2018. The company wrote $377.6 million in premiums in 2019 and paid claims of $285.4 million. In 2021, it projects premiums of $449.9 million and claims of $360.3 million.

The Insurance Department also approved changes for small group off market rates for businesses with up to 50 employees. The largest small group insurer, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield with 20,724 affected lives, saw an approval of a 1.77% decrease.

More information about rate changes can be found here.

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