Beware Health Care Provider Backdoor Rate Increases

One important consideration with which health care provider you choose when you are looking for health insurance in Texas is by how much they seek to increase their rates. The website provides an effective, if not complete, rate review tool. This tool points fingers and names names or any plans and providers who have filed an official request for a rate hike of ten percent or in excess of that amount for 2016.

In the state of Texas, out of 15 carriers providing health insurance in Texas, an astonishing eight have requested such usurious double digit price increases to their plans, representing over 53% of the state exchange carriers. This is bad enough, but other health insurance in Texas providers have simply decided to throw in the towel on the statewide and national insurance markets. Time Insurance wanted rate increases of as much as 65% in the Lone Star State. Needless to say, they could not get them, so their parent company Assurant Health is packing up its individual insurance policy bags nationwide and sailing into the sunset. They will not be participating in the next open enrollment. It is a bad omen of things to come for the health insurance in Texas market.

Among the 15 remaining carriers still offering health insurance for Texas plans, the ones who did not ask for a greedy and grasping rate increase of 10 percent or more are not listed on the rate review tool found at the website. There are even carriers who asked for rate decreases out there, though suspiciously, not one of them offered health insurance in Texas. The rates and rate increases are not yet final. Texas does not review the proposed premiums for health insurance in Texas exchange plans, along with four other states. This means that the national Health and Human Services will review the submitted health insurance in Texas rates.

The encouraging news is that the overwhelming majority of Texas state exchange members receive government subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The kicker is that the subsidy amounts rise as the benchmark plan price changes. This means that if enrollees are willing to shop around to find and get the plan with the maximum value for their money, then probably the higher subsidy amounts will offset the majority of the increasing rates in the majority of cases. This is not guaranteed of course, and will not be the end result in all cases either.

The grasping insurance companies seeking over 10% rate increases for some or all of their health insurance in Texas plans are as follows: Aetna Life Insurance, All Savers Insurance, Allegian Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Cigna Health and Life Insurance, Golden Rule Insurance, Humana Health Plan of Texas, Scott and White Health Plan, SHA – better known as the First Care Health Plans, Time Insurance Company, and United Healthcare Life Insurance. All of these guilty as charged firms have filed for increases ranging from 10% – 99% with an average increase of over 15%. Texans consider yourselves warned.
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