All 9 ACA insurers return to Michigan for 2020, rates projected to fall

    2017 rally supporting the ACA in Washington, D.C. | Ted Eytan, Flickr

    The state agency that operates Michigan’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace announced Wednesday that it’s received 2020 enrollment filings from all nine of its 2019 insurers, and all but two have asked for a decrease in the rates consumers will pay next year.

    Next year will see an average decrease of about two percent to premiums overall, according to the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). This year saw some of the lowest rate hikes in years, as the Affordable Care Act marketplace has become more stable, despite the repeal of its individual mandate and threats from the President Trump administration.

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    DIFS Director Anita Fox said in a statement that in entering the 10th year of the ACA, “the fact that we have nine companies continuing to offer plans shows that Michigan’s Marketplace is continuing to thrive.” She pointed out that “some states have as few as one or two options.”

    In a statement last month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state’s largest health insurer, cited the decrease as “the result of several contributing factors, including increased market stability, fewer high-cost claims and fewer people dropping coverage mid-year.” 

    Blue Cross Blue Shield and its subsidiary, Blue Care Network, cover roughly 200,000 enrollees combined through the ACA market, according to the state.

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    Charles Gaba, a metro Detroit health care market analyst, characterized the market’s increasing affordability as a course correction from the skittish first couple of years of the Trump administration.

    “In 2017 and 2018, insurance carriers vastly overestimated what risk pool problems would look like because there was so much uncertainty,” Gaba said, referring to Republican efforts to repeal the law and the president’s frequent vows to do so. “Carriers are extremely risk averse, and in the absence of certainty they’re going to err on the side of extreme caution, so they jacked up rates significantly for a couple of years, but now it’s looking more stable.”

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former reporter for the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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