CareFirst defends large rate hikes in Maryland

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The CEO of Baltimore-based CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield justified its high premium rate requests at a hearing with the Maryland Insurance Administration Monday, WBAL-TV 11 reported.

Last month the insurer upped its requested premium rate increases for individual plans on the state's 2017 exchange from 12 percent for HMO plans and 15.3 percent for PPO plans to 27.8 percent and 36.6 percent, respectively.

CareFirst CEO Chet Burrell said the insurer understands the premiums are too high, however, he said they are determined by the insurer's increasing amount of sick consumers and the federal law, according to the report.

Opponents of the hikes said the premiums could limit consumer choice. MIA will decide whether to approve the rates by the end of the summer.

More articles about payer issues:
Fitch: Health insurer credit metrics hit hard in first half of 2016
Study finds gaps in women's health coverage under ACA
Large companies face 6% increase in 2017 employee healthcare costs: 7 key findings

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