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NM Insurance Rates Climb

NM Insurance Rates Climb

If you want to buy an individual policy from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, your rates will jump by 93.2 percent from what they were in 2015

Four Leading Healthcare Insurance Companies Raise Rates for 2017

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

Rates for individual health insurance plans for 2017 will increase by 15 percent to 33 percent on the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, Insurance Superintendent John Franchini says.

And, if you want to buy an individual policy from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, your rates will jump by 93.2 percent from what they were in 2015 when Blue Cross last sold on the exchange.

The increases will affect most the 54,865 New Mexicans who bought policies on the exchange for 2016. But the blow will be softened by federal premium subsidies for most of those people. For 2016, 68 percent of New Mexicans who bought through the exchange were eligible for subsidies, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The average subsidy this year was $205 a month, meaning that policy holders paid an average premium of $127 a month.

Franchini said that although the rate increases are steep in some instances, he is happy that there are still four companies that will sell policies on the exchange for next year. Across the nation, major insurers like United Healthcare and Aetna have said they won’t sell on the exchanges because they’ve lost money on those individual policies.

The four companies on New Mexico’s exchange will sell individual policies in all the state’s 33 counties, Franchini said.

New Mexico Health Connections had the largest increase at 33 percent. It was followed by Molina Healthcare of New Mexico at 24 percent, and CHRISTUS Health Plan at 15.7 percent.

BCBSNM quit the exchange last year after Franchini’s office denied its request for a 52 percent rate hike. But the company asked to get back on the exchange for 2017, and its rates will be 93.2 percent higher than when it left the marketplace, Franchini said.

Presbyterian Health Plan announced earlier this year that it was pulling out of the exchange for 2017 because it lost money on its exchange members.

Rates for small group policies on the small business, or SHOP exchange, will increase for the four companies that sell on it. The increases range from a high of 31.6 percent for NMHC to 2.5 percent for Presbyterian Health Plan.

Open enrollment for individuals looking to buy through the exchange runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

 

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Sara MacNeil is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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