BCBS Asking For Average 50 Percent Rate Increase For ACA Participants

Monday, August 15th 2016, 5:59 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

In the last few weeks, Aetna and United Healthcare have decided not to participate in the national exchange for next year. Now, Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state's largest and now only insurance provider in the program, is asking for a large rate increase.

If the federal government doesn't approve it, there are worries they could drop out as well.

Since the launch of the Affordable Care Act, Blue Cross Blue Shield has been a part of the online exchange. 

In May, the company filed paperwork for a rate increase averaging 50 percent in 2017. News 9 was told an amended request may increase rates even more. 

In a statement, the company said, "Rates are based on several factors, including anticipated medical care costs, pharmaceutical cost and utilization, among other variables."

In the past, the company said they were losing money by participating in the Affordable Care Act. That seems to be the case with the other companies as well.

“We have to acknowledge that many of the companies have exited here in Oklahoma and nationally have had huge financial losses in respect with their each of the three years,” said Mike Rhoads, the Oklahoma Deputy Commissioner of Health Insurance.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department doesn't have any control over approval of the rate increase, but Rhodes said they are in close touch with both parties.

Their big concern is Blue Cross Blue Shield would drop out of the exchange as well. The federal government would then have to decide where to go from there.

“With no private carriers available, they will have to determine if there is another option available to the approximately 150,000 Oklahomans who are currently enrolled,” Rhoads said.

The federal government is expected to make a decision on BCBS's proposed rate increase on August 23.