MVP seeks 15.4 percent average increase in 2015 health exchange premiums

The second insurance provider participating in Vermont’s health exchange has requested a 15.4 percent increase in its average annual premiums for 2015.

MVP Health Care submitted the rate request in a filing with the Green Mountain Care Board on Monday. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, the other participant in Vermont Health Connect, requested a 9.8 percent average increase.

MVP’s proposal would increase the monthly, unsubsidized premium for a single person buying its silver plan by $76.84, or 18 percent, over the 2014 rate. The monthly cost of MVP’s lowest-cost plan, the bronze, would increase $61.59, or 18.3 percent, under the proposal.

The cost of MVP’s two high-deductible plans, silver HD and bronze HD, would go up the least at 10.7 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.

MVP’s request cited the cost of prescription drugs among the reasons for the sharp increase, as did Blue Cross’ filing.

“We understand that a premium is more than a number, and that any increase will directly affect individuals who purchased coverage on Vermont’s health insurance exchange. Sadly, the rapidly-rising price of health care services in Vermont, coupled with a sharp hike in prescription drug costs, federal taxes, and an enormous slash in federal reimbursement rates, make the economics of providing coverage unsustainable in 2015 without premium increases,” MVP Interim CEO Karla Austen said in a statement. “In the next few months, MVP is committed to working with the Green Mountain Care Board to review our proposal in depth.”

The Green Mountain Care Board has 90 days to review and adjust the rate requests, which take effect Jan. 1.

Tom Brown

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38 Comments on "MVP seeks 15.4 percent average increase in 2015 health exchange premiums"

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Wayne Andrews
2 years 3 months ago

What is wrong with our elected government officials? Do they really think the people can afford this, along with $4/gallon gas and a large increase in the Statewide education tax? What will it take to change you vote in the next election?

Bob Zeliff
2 years 3 months ago

Wayne,

This is the free market at work. Private insurance companies asking for more money.

Remember Obamacare is 100% private insurance companies…whom you pay. They are between you and your Doctor or your hospital. They just want more money.
Is that a surprise??

Are you advocating that Government take a more active role?

Craig Powers
2 years 3 months ago

Hogwash.

This is not the free market Bob, and you know it. How could there be any competition between just two insurance companies with a government entity lurking behind them with a gun to their heads.

Why don’t you explain to all the readers the exact reasons that there are just two left in VT?

Walter Carpenter
2 years 3 months ago

“Why don’t you explain to all the readers the exact reasons that there are just two left in VT?”

Isn’t because back in the 90’s Vt at last disallowed insurers to cherry pick their enrollees? You know, go after the young and healthy with high deductible policies and refuse older people or those with medical histories?

Cynthia Beaudette
2 years 3 months ago
The health care debacle is like declaring automobile repair a “right”. The State pushing mechanics to accept Autocaid and Autocare for the poor and elderly and the state paying mechanics 1/3rd to 1/2 what the service is worth. THEN! dictating to all insurance companies that they will pay the cost shift from auto garages. Every year the state mandates a host of other repairs insurance companies will have no choice but to cover…..or they must leave the state. All 41 insurance companies, fearing they can not make a profit in the state, which is why they are in business to… Read more »
J. Scott Cameron
2 years 3 months ago

A large premium increase after the first year was inevitable. BCBS and MVP came in with solid numbers at the outset of this program and the Green Mountain Care Board forced them to lower premium costs to make the plans more attractive. Now, with a year of data under their belts, the documented premium costs must be adjusted if the plans are to remain financially viable.

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago
Where do you get the impression that these companies now have “a year of data under their belts”? It’s June 4. The plans began on January 1. There’s no way the actuaries even had six month of data to make these initial projections. There’s not a single small business or individual policy holder I know of who can get a rate projection from either BCBSVT or MVP for 2015 this early because we’re always told that it’s too soon to project . And yet, both companies have already estimated their projected increases for Vermont Health Connect based on, at best,… Read more »
2 years 3 months ago
Scott: You are on to something by citing the Green Mountain Care Board’s (GMCB) rejection of the BCBS and MVP rate filings last year. After a comprehensive actuarial review, the Commissioner of the Department of Financial Management recommended the BCBS and MVP rates to the GMCB saying they were not “excessive or unfairly discriminatory” or in other words they met the state’s standards. The GMCB rejected the recommendations from the Commissioner and reduced the BCBS rate by 4.3% and MVP by 5.3%. A reality in this process is the political pressure on the GMCB to keep rates down. Last year… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

I sure would love to negotiate with you. You’re suggesting that all I’d need to do is convince you that my numbers represent “hard nosed actuarial analysis” and you’d roll over and accept them? What are you selling besides this line of crap? I know we can make a deal!

2 years 3 months ago

Jason:

You apparently know something about the rate setting process that prompts your comments.

Please tell us how you think conclusions on insurance rates are reached and what “hard nosed actuarial analysis might actually entail.

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago
Since you created the phrase “hard nosed actuarial analysis”, maybe you should define that. Anyway, I do know that what’s being described in this article is simply the beginning of a rather typical negotiation process. I also know that it’s not atypical for an insurance company to deliver a preliminary rate increase number that is not the best number that’s available during such negotiations or the one agreed to at a later date. If businesses were to simply accept the initial offer provided without scrutiny, or a counter offer, then businesses wouldn’t be negotiating well, and would be overpaying over… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
2 years 3 months ago

“Last year the GMCB significantly reduced the rate requests from BCBS and MVP. ”

Do you want them to charge higher rates?

2 years 3 months ago
Walter: Like you I’m a consumer and would like to pay the lowest possible price for my insurance. However, with insurance adequate premiums must be collected to pay the claims that are made in addition to covering overhead and surplus. This is such an important concept that it’s enshrined in the Vermont law that states: Rates must be adequate, not excessive or unfairly discriminatory. There is always tension between the regulator and insurer when determining rates but at the end of the day enough premium must be collected to pay the claims or the system doesn’t work. Affordability for consumers… Read more »
Walter Carpenter
2 years 3 months ago
“Like you I’m a consumer and would like to pay the lowest possible price for my insurance.” Peter, this is a huge part of the problem. Health care is not about consuming. It is about people needing care as we all will. Health care is not buying a used car. It is about all of us. “Affordability is not achieved by suppressing rates in response to political pressure.” Yes, I understand how health insurance works, including the overhead coverage in which we are paying dearly for, including the huge salaries of insurance ceo’s. But political pressure usually comes from below… Read more »
2 years 3 months ago
Jason: Although you quickly jumped all over my initial comments, you now admit that you don’t know what “hard nosed actuarial analysis” might actually entail. And what in the world does your comment: “If businesses were to simply accept the initial offer provided without scrutiny, or a counter offer, then businesses wouldn’t be negotiating well, and would be overpaying over time.” have to do with anything I’ve said? To help you along, this is what basically happens in the rate setting process. Since my initial comments were premised on what happened last year, I explain from that prospective. An insurance… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago
Thanks for “helping me along”! You’re too kind. “If the rates approved last year had been adequate, it’s not likely we would be seeing such large requested increases this year.” This “if – then” type of statement is simply supposition not supported by anything but your own conjecture… “Was there political pressure on the GMCB last year from the Governor’s to reduce the rates? My guess is yes.” …followed by what appears to be a rhetorical question in used to confirm support for your own pre-conceived belief of what was responsible for last year’s rate agreement between the BCBSVT and… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 3 months ago

Peter,

I’m not following your political logic.

You say that the GMCB denied some of the rate increases LAST year for political reasons.

But last year was not an election year, so political logic dictates that rates rise, precisely in order to keep any increases to a minimum THIS year, which IS an election year.

2 years 3 months ago
John: Politically motivated behavior occurs every day, every week and every year regardless of the election cycle, a fact you well know. Political motivation to act is heightened when big promises with wide public impact such as those to reduce health care costs fail to materialize or appear to be slipping away. Last year the introductory health care premiums were deemed to be high. They were knocked down by the GMCB despite being supported by the Commissioner of Financial Management. This reduction gives the appearance of the presence of political pressure. This year’s average rate increases of 9.8% and 15.4%… Read more »
2 years 3 months ago

Jason:

I don’t know for certain what occurred last year as I wasn’t there. I do know how the system works and the pressures that are applied purely for political reasons and not supported by actuarial or financial analysis.

I have been there and seen things first hand. How about you?

I’ll leave it at that.

John Greenberg
2 years 3 months ago
Peter, You conveniently evaded my point. Sure, “Politically motivated behavior occurs every day, every week and every year regardless of the election cycle, a fact you well know.” But political timing is another matter. Let’s get down to basics, shall we. Either the insurance companies need a rate increase – which everything you say supposes – or they don’t. I presume that your supposition is that costs are rising and that the companies need to cover their expenses. I take that to be your supposition because you argue that since rates were not allowed to rise enough last year, they… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

Been there done that, too!

I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks for the discourse.

Be well!

2 years 3 months ago

Here’s a list of articles and studies analyzing how the ACA may impact healthcare premiums. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6919#sthash.yNfOAHuT.dpbs

2 years 3 months ago
John: I’m not surprised by the double teaming by you and Jason……..that’s what it takes to attempt to hold a superior opponent down. Despite your double teaming, you’ll continue to lose because you fail to understand or ignore the substance of what is said. What do you think “hard nosed actuarial analysis” means? Jason didn’t know and honestly said so, but you seem to be continuing to struggle with comprehending the concept. I’ll assure you that it doesn’t mean rolling over or taking anything for granted. It does mean fully understanding the filing and pushing back on every point until… Read more »
John Greenberg
2 years 3 months ago
Peter, First, I don’t know Jason (other than as a commenter on Vermont Digger). Apparently, you find it apparently easy to declare yourself a winner when you ignore all the points your opponents raise. I’m glad it makes you happy. Second, I didn’t miss your point about “hard nosed actuarial analysis,” but I fail to see how it’s relevant to the points I raised. (And by the way, Jason asked you to define the term, which does NOT imply that he “didn’t know and honestly said so.”) Your argument was that after the “hard nosed actuarial analysis,” the GMCB acted… Read more »
Valerie Mullin
2 years 3 months ago
More numbers and how it can affect you personally…..remember, businesses with fewer than 50 employees are mandated to use this exchange which only has 2 options to choose from. We need more options on who to purchase from and how we get to choose our health care dollars with fewer mandates. I’m not a friend of insurance companies but like our schools, when you impose mandates, it has financial repercussions. Current Representative Fisher chair of Vermont’s Health Care Committee and Dave Sharpe (key member on the Ways and Means Committee) who has voted lock-step, to approve all Vermonter’s will not… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

You should consider a disclosure statement with your political posts here, and elsewhere, to inform readers that you’re a currently a Republican candidate for Addison-4. This would enable readers the ability to judge whether your repeated attempts to single out and discredit the incumbents you seek to replace in your district are related to their performance, or your political ambition.

Paul Lorenzini
2 years 3 months ago

What progressive district are you from Jason?

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

I live in the city of Vergennes which is in Addison-3. We’re currently represented by Democratic Representative Diane Lanpher and Republican Representative Warren Van Wyck. Why that matters to you based on the suggest I made to the candidate is curious, but few would consider Addison-3 a progressive, or Progressive, district.

Kathy Callaghan
2 years 3 months ago

That’s a just a bit harsh, don’t you think, Mr. Farrell? Ms. Mullin is entitled to write in as a private citizen, just as you and I are.

Bob Zeliff
2 years 3 months ago
Valerie, You seem to assume that more competition, i.e. more than two insurance companies would make rates lower. You also seem to presume that the some how the government is the main cause. If you look at the facts you will fine both assumptions are incorrect. The Obama Care exchange is 100% private insurance companies…open to all companies. Only two have chosen to compete in the Vermont market. This primarily due to Vermont being a small market not many $$$. If you look across the US you will see it is the small states that have few, usually two companies.… Read more »
Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

“In fact one republican small state has only one insurer!!”

If you’re, in fact, referring to New Hampshire with that statement, it now has three. Which destroys a talking point that by creating the exchanges Obamacare has destroyed competition. It’s simply not true. Insurance companies not focused on politics will focus on their ability to compete in these new state-based market places because of the mandates, not in spite of them.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/06/03/1304104/-New-Hampshire-gets-four-more-insurance-companies-in-exchange-Scott-Brown-loses-talking-nbsp-point

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

Make that 5 companies in the New Hampshire Exchange in 2015. That’s four more than in the first year of it existence and implementation.

Bob Zeliff
2 years 3 months ago

No I was referring to another small population republican state. Mississippi

New Hampshire has relatively much higher population, and therefore potential revenues.

ps Mississippi also has one of the highest insurance costs as well.

http://www.healthinsurance.org/mississippi-state-health-insurance-exchange/

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

I don’t think it’s harsh to politely suggest that Ms Mullin, a declared candidate for elected office, reveal that when she uses this public forum to criticize her opponents. It’s not a secret, but it may inform, as I suspect not every reader is aware of the fact that she’s a candidate. I fail to see how such a suggestion would threaten or injure the candidate in any way. In fact, such a revelation could actually gain her support. Why this simple suggestion is met with suspicion and consternation is more than a bit silly.

Keith Stern
2 years 3 months ago

Yes Valerie should post herself to let people know that she is a candidate so if people like what she has to say and want the opportunity to support a candidate with a fiscally responsible and common sense approach to government they will know of one.

Wayne Andrews
2 years 3 months ago

Why are all of you so called ‘experts’ not speaking to the fact us working stiffs are mandated to purchase health insurance. that throws out all of your theories about operating a normal business and attracting clients.
All your comments above are related to businesses trying to attract customers. After ACA we are are coralled into a pen ready to be financially slaughtered.

Jason Farrell
2 years 3 months ago

Because many of us working stiffs have tired of paying for the health care costs associated with those who either can’t afford or choose not to purchase health insurance but end up financially slaughtering” with unsustainable rate increases annually when we purchase health insurance for ourselves or our employees. That loophole’s closed.

David Dempsey
2 years 3 months ago

Jason,
I’m not sure why you say that the loophole is closed. Most Vermonters who recieved state subsidys to pay for Catamount or VHAP insurance plans are recieving similar subsidies for their health exchange policies. And people who choose not to have insurance still can pay the miniscule $95 federal penalty and instead of spending thousands of dollars for insurance. Aren’t we working, paycheck to paycheck, people still paying for them?

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