The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) approved health insurance plan rates for the District of Columbia’s health insurance marketplace, DC Health Link, for plan year 2018.
Insurers filed their initial rates with the Department in May. Since then, DISB engaged in its rate review process resulting in two out of the four insurers revising their rates down from their initial filings, one as much as half of what was proposed. The Department also held a public hearing during the rate review process to allow residents to provide input in the rate review process.
“DISB completed a transparent, extended and rigorous rate review process to ensure District residents and small businesses are paying competitive prices for the plans offered by companies on the District’s health insurance marketplace,” said Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor. “The proposed 2018 health plan rates have been reviewed not only by the Department but also by District policyholders and consumer advocates via a public hearing to ensure that all viewpoints were considered before the process ended.”
The average increase in 2018 premiums across all insurers is 15.64% for individuals and 7.26% for small group plans. The same four major insurance companies as last year – Aetna, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente and UnitedHealthcare – will have plans on DC Health Link. CareFirst and Kaiser Permanente plans cover individuals, families and small businesses for the 2018 plan year. Aetna and UnitedHealthcare plans are only available in the small business market.
Overall 177 plans were filed, up from 171 last year. There was no change in the number of small group plans151, and individual plans increased from 20 to 26, including the new standard health savings account or HSA plans that will be available for 2018. HSA plans allow policyholders to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for covered medical expenses if they have a high deductible health insurance plan.
“Under Commissioner Taylor’s leadership for the first time ever DISB held a public hearing on proposed rates. Commissioner Taylor took comments on the impact of proposed rate increases from District residents and small business owners. Dozens of DC Health Link customers testified in person and approximately 900 submitted written comments – and they had a real impact,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. “At the hearing, we advocated for the lowest possible rates and provided some actuarial analysis for consideration by DISB. We are pleased that Commissioner Taylor worked with one insurer to revise its proposed increase to half of the original request. Overall, District residents and small businesses will see lower rates than what was initially proposed.”
DC Health Link’s open enrollment begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2018. DISB expresses appreciation to health insurers, the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, consumer health advocates, brokers and the public for their input during the 2018 rate review process.
The chart below shows changes in rates from the insurance companies’ original filings compared to the approved rates following DISB’s rate review process. For more information about the approved 2018 health insurance plan rates including the rate filings and sample rates visit disb.dc.gov/2018rates.