State regulators approved significant premium hikes on Louisiana’s and Iowa’s Obamacare exchanges this week, with each state seeing average hikes reaching the double-digits.
In Louisiana, 2015 plans will be much costlier, according to The Times-Picayune. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the exchange’s largest insurer, is hiking prices between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for three different plans. Over 50,000 customers are currently covered by the three plans — Blue Saver, Blue Max, and Multi-State individual.
The upside: Blue Cross Blue Shield isn’t hiking rates on customers with narrowed networks in New Orleans, Baton Rouge or Shreveport.
Humana will up its exchange premium rates by 9.9 percent, after backing down from its initial proposal of 15.5 percent. Vantage Health Plan, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, is going ahead with its initial proposal, a 15.89 percent hike.
The significant hikes are not likely to help Democratic incumbent and Obamacare supporter Sen. Mary Landrieu, who’s trailing Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy in the polls.
When Blue Cross Blue Shield first proposed its rate hikes, it blamed a pool of exchange customers that used more health care services than expected.
Louisiana is not one of 31 states whose insurance commissioner can deny exchange rate increases from insurers.
Iowa also approved large rate hikes Thursday. CoOportunity adjusted its premium hikes up to 19 percent on average, however, after initially requesting a boost of just 14.3 percent. The other top exchange insurer, Coventry will increase rates by 8.7 percent.
The Des Moines Register also notes that WellMark, which doesn’t offer coverage on the state’s Obamacare exchange, is also raising rates. WellMark, the largest insurer in the state, is upping prices on 250,000 policies, with most hikes lower than 6.1 percent.
The race for Iowa’s open Senate seat in November has pitted Republican Joni Ernst, who’s been heavily critical of the health-care law, against Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley, who supports Obamacare.
Other states have had better luck. Colorado, for one, recently announced that its exchange premiums would rise by just 1.18 percent. Several Colorado towns, however, already had the highest premiums in the nation during the first open enrollment period.