2015 Health Insurance Rates for Rhode Island

2015 Health Insurance Rates for Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Health Insurance Commissioner, Kathleen C. Hittner, MD, in July announced approved health insurance rates for plans sold in the private market. She approved lower premium increases than most insurance companies requested.For the most part, Rhode Islanders who buy their own health insurance are expected to see little change in health insurance premiums from 2014 to 2015. Based on two carriers returning to Rhode Island’s individual market, the average premium increase across base rates is -1.4 percent. When factoring in a third carrier, new to the market for 2015, the average base rate across carriers is $305. In the small group market, the average premium increase across essential health benefits base rates is 5.3 percent and the average EHB base rate is $369.

As of late October, seven states and the District of Columbia had made their final rate announcements.[1] The PwC Health Research Institute reported an average individual premium of $344 across all metal tiers and ages and an average premium increase of 3.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. Based on preliminary premium data from 41 states and the District of Columbia, the average individual premium increase across all reporting states is 6 percent and the average premium is $381.

The State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Commissioner’s Requested and Approved Summary for 2015 Rates may be found here.

Individual and family coverage

In 2014, two health insurance companies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, sold individual plans on and away from HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s state-based exchange. In 2015, UnitedHealthcare joins the state’s individual market, bringing the number of carriers to three[2]:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
  • UnitedHealthcare

The Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner approved the following individual EHB base rates[3]:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island: $328.25, a 4.5 percent increase from 2014

BCBSRI requested an EHB base rate of $341.68, which represented an 8.9 percent increase from 2014.

  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island: $288.99, a -7.3 percent increase from 2014

NHPRIs requested amount was the same as its approved amount.

  • UnitedHealthcare: $298.77

Because it is new to Rhode Islands individual market for 2015, UnitedHealthcares     EHB base rate did not change. The rate requested was the same as the approved amount.

According to the Rhode Island OHIC summary, these EHB base rates represent “the monthly average rate for a plan with no cost-sharing for a 21-year old for a given insurer in a given market. It is the basis for the rates that will be charged for plans offered by a given insurer in a given market.”

Actual rates may vary based on an applicant’s age, geographic location, tobacco use, carrier, plan type, and subsidy eligibility when buying from the exchange.

Small business coverage

Four health insurance companies were approved to sell plans in Rhode Island’s small group market for 2015. Two of them filed their HMO and PPO plans separately.

The Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner approved the following small employer EHB base rates[4]:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island: $365.51, a 5.2 percent increase from 2014

BCBSRI requested a small employer EHB base rate of $369.77, which represented a 5.8 percent increase from 2014.

  • Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island: $314.95, a -1.8 percent increase from

NHPRIs requested amount was the same as its approved amount.

  • Tufts HMO: $385.56, a 4.5 percent increase from 2014
  • Tufts PPO: $388.75, a 4.7 percent increase from 2014
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO: $377.54, a 9.6 percent increase from 2014

UnitedHealthcare HMO requested a small employer EHB base rate of $400.48, which represented a 16.3 percent increase from 2014.

  • UnitedHealthcare PPO: $381.76, a 9.6 percent percent increase from 2014

UnitedHealthcare PPO requested a small employer EHB base rate of $405.03, which represented a 16.3 percent increase from 2014.

As with individual coverage, these rates are subject to vary based on several factors. Small group coverage is also available on and away from Rhode Island’s state-based health insurance exchange.

Small employers who use Rhode Island’s exchange and have up to 25 employees may qualify for tax credits. However, small businesses may find group coverage in the private marketplace through agents and brokers and websites such as HealthCare.com.

Medicaid

Rhode Island expanded Medicaid to low-income adults in 2014. Open enrollment is year-round. Visit HealthSource RI to apply.

Choosing your 2015 health insurance plan

Whether you wish to buy health insurance on or away from Rhode Island’s exchange, you should consider your health and financial needs for the year ahead and spend time comparison shopping.

Some things to consider:

  • Did your family health needs change in the past year? Will they change in the year to come?
  • Did your income change? Are you eligible for a tax credit, eligible for a larger or smaller tax credit, or no longer eligible for one at all?
  • Did you use the coverage you selected? Was it too much? Too little?
  • Did your plan network include your preferred providers and hospitals? Were they conveniently located?

Health and financial needs change, benchmark plan rates used to determine tax credits fluctuate, tax credit eligibility changes, and so do plan rates and networks. Check out the plan options in your area. Compare monthly premiums, annual deductibles and out-of-pocket limits, coinsurance, copayments and network providers and determine which work best for your healthcare needs and budget. Recalculate your premium tax credit subsidy eligibility.

If you qualify for a premium tax credit, you may want to keep your search to the exchange. If your are not eligible for a premium tax credit or the amount is small, you may want to consider options in the private marketplace. Remember: Tax credits are only available when you shop your state’s exchange. If you plan to buy 2015 coverage through HealthSource RI and receive a subsidy, be sure to update your financial and household information.

Use HealthCare.com’s Obamacare tax credit subsidy calculator to see if you might be eligible for a tax credit—and estimate how much. While you’re visiting HealthCare.com, enter your ZIP code to find and compare plans in your area. Call (877) 626-1943 to get help directly from an agent.

 

[1] PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “A Look at 2015 Individual Market Health Insurance Rate Filings.” Oct. 20, 2014. http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/aca-state-exchanges.jhtml.

[2] State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner. “OHIC Approves Commercial Health Insurance [Press Release].” July 17, 2014. http://www.ohic.ri.gov/2014%20Rate%20Review%20Final%20Decision/1_2014%20Rate%20Review%20Decision%20Press%20Release.pdf.

[3] State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner. “Requested and Approved Summary for 2015 Rates in the Individual, Small Group, and Large Group Markets.” http://www.ohic.ri.gov/2014%20Rate%20Review%20Final%20Decision/2_2014%20Rate%20Review%20%20All%20Market%20Requested%20and%20Approved%20Summary.pdf.

[4] State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner. “Requested and Approved Summary for 2015 Rates in the Individual, Small Group, and Large Group Markets.” http://www.ohic.ri.gov/2014%20Rate%20Review%20Final%20Decision/2_2014%20Rate%20Review%20%20All%20Market%20Requested%20and%20Approved%20Summary.pdf.

About Jenifer Dorsey

Jenifer Dorsey is a regular contributor to HealthCare.com. She has covered health insurance and health and fitness for more than five years. In her free time she is a competitive track cyclist and loves to travel, especially to places with velodromes.

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