Md. Reduces Health Insurance Rates

Md. Reduces Health Insurance Rates

The Affordable Care Act is changing a lot when it comes to health insurance, including the role that states play in helping the uninsured find coverage.

HAGERSTOWN, MD- The Affordable Care Act is changing a lot when it comes to health insurance, including the role that states play in helping the uninsured find coverage.

Every state will now have an "exchange" or a marketplace where people can get coverage.

Estimates show that about 14 percent of Maryland's population is uninsured. That adds up to about 740,000 people. Under the ACA, insurers across the nation must provide health insurance packages with certain benefits to individuals, including those with pre-existing conditions.

“There will be a lot of people that are currently uninsured that will come into the exchanges to buy coverage using federal subsidies,” said Caroline Pearson, Vice President of Avalere Health.

What is particularly notable is that Maryland currently boasts the lowest health insurance rates, after regulators reduced prices for packages offered through the state's exchange.

Rates for some plans were cut by as much as 33 percent from what insurance carriers requested.

“Because there are nine health plans participating, we have seen a lot of competition that is keeping premiums very competitive and in fact lower than any other state that has released data so far for 2014,” said Pearson.

Critics of the reduced-cost premiums say that the price cuts might prevent insurance companies from being able to pay all of the medical claims that come in.

“There are some federal programs that help protect plans in case they do price products too low,” said Pearson. “The risk corridors and the reinsurance program will help offset some of those potential losses but it's really difficult to predict at this point what the medical spending will be and whether any of these health plans might have priced things a bit low for who will actually enroll.”

However, for those who are uninsured or have a pre-existing condition, the latest move by the Maryland insurance administration is good news.

Maryland resident Susan Godlobe is uninsured and has several pre-existing conditions including diabetes.

“It would be nice if there was cheaper insurance for people who can't afford a whole lot--that would still have a good bit of coverage, instead of racking up hospital bills and having creditors call you about them,” said Godlobe.

Experts are predicting that about 300,000 Maryland residents will enroll by 2016. For more information click here


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