Four health insurance providers participating in the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace (AHIM) have requested a 2.08 percent average increase for 2020.
The four companies are Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Ambetter from AR Health & Wellness, QualChoice Life and Health, and QCA Health Plan.
Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr announced the insurance increase request, which he attributes to the stability of the state’s insurance marketplace and the Arkansas Works program.
“The initial 2.08% average increase requested shows the stability of Arkansas’s marketplace, the strength of the Governor’s Arkansas Works plan, and how placing AHIM under the control of AID lead to the elimination of an unnecessary 1.25% marketplace fee paid by consumers and Arkansas taxpayers,” he says.
Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield had the largest rate increase request, at 2.89 percent, followed by Ambetter with a request of 1.90 percent and QCA Health Plan at 0.56 percent. Qualchoice had the smallest increase request at 0.51 percent.
All four companies cited the decrease in the Federal Exchange User Fee, which decreased by 3 percent to 2.5 percent, and the elimination of the AHIM Exchange User Fee (formerly 1.25 percent) as the justifications for the increase requests. In addition, the companies cited changes in morbidity as an increase justification.
For 2020, Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield is projecting to underwrite $943 million in premiums and have $794.8 million in claims, an increase from $903.9 million in premiums and $752.3 million in claims for the 2018 calendar year.
Ambetter is projecting $377.6 million in premiums and $285.4 million in claims for 2020, which is a drop from its 2018 numbers, when it had $440.7 million in premiums and $316.6 million in claims.
QCA Health Plan has $173.4 million in projected premiums and $128.4 million in projected claims. In 2018, it had $97.5 million in premiums and $75.2 million in claims.
QualChoice has projected having $173.4 million in premiums and $128.4 million in claims, a significant increase over its 2018 numbers: $95.4 million in premiums and $72.6 million in claims.
While the Health Insurance Marketplace was formerly an independent entity, it is now overseen by the state. In the 2019 legislative session, state lawmakers approved Act 107, which abolished the AHIM board of directors and returned the marketplace to the oversight of the Arkansas Insurance Department.