State’s only Obamacare provider proposes 5.8 percent rate cut

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After years of increases, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware proposedcutting rates by 5.8 percent on marketplacehealth insurance, also known as “Obamacare.”

The annual rate filing was recently submittedto the Delaware Department of Insurance. The state has about 22,500 people who sign up for marketplace coverage.

Highmark is the only insurer continuing to offer insurance coverage in Delaware’s individual market. The market covers the self-employed, people between jobs and others who cannot get health insurance.

The decrease comes after last year’s 3 percent rate increase and the department’s decision to “silver load.” By applying the rate increase to silver-level plans only, Delaware’s Marketplace received more federal subsidies, helping to assist in stabilizing the market and lowering premiums.

The state’s marketplace program had previously been seeing double-digit rate hikes.

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro stated, “The silver loading strategy is something my staff and I gave careful consideration to last year, in anticipation that it would result in rate stabilization or possibly a decrease.While I am happy that we will see a decrease in the proposed rate, health insurance remains unaffordable for many Delawareans who do not qualify for premium subsidies. We are committed to reviewing the proposed rate decrease with the same careful analysis that we would give any rate proposal, whether it be an increase or decrease. I expect to announce the approved rate later this summer.”

The proposed rate decrease is unrelated to Delaware’s intended submission of a 1332 Waiver to establish a reinsurance program, the insurance department noted. If the application process is successful, the actuarial consultant’s projections are correct, and the State of Delaware secures adequate funding, the waiver program may decrease rates by an additional 20 percent.

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