Insurance rates stabilizing on Affordable Care Act exchange for Illinois

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Illinoisans shopping this fall on the state’s online health-insurance marketplace for 2019 coverage will pay the smallest average annual rate increases in at least three years.

“In fact, many consumers may see a decrease in rates,” Jennifer Hammer, director of the Illinois Department of Insurance, told The State Journal-Register on Friday.

Consumers will see average 4 percent increases in monthly premiums for “silver” plans and 6 percent increases for “bronze” and “gold” plans on HealthCare.gov, Hammer said.

Those increases are based on rates submitted to the state by insurance companies that plan to participate in Illinois’ health-insurance exchange.

The rate changes don’t reflect federal subsidies for monthly premiums that are provided through the Affordable Care Act for people with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, Hammer said.

More information will be released by the state this week on rates for health plans that consumers can choose during this year’s open-enrollment period for the Illinois marketplace, she said. Open enrollment will run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 for plans that take effect Jan. 1.

The more-modest increases indicate that Illinois’ health-insurance market is stabilizing as part of a trend being seen across the country as insurers get better at predicting what it will cost to insure people seeking coverage through state-level insurance exchanges, Hammer said.

“When insuring the subsidized population, they’re starting to understand how sick those people are,” she said. “We’re excited that consumers will finally have some relief after facing years of average double-digit rate increases.”

More choice for consumers will come with the addition of a fifth insurance company that will sell health plans on the exchange, Hammer said.

Gundersen Health Plan will join Celtic Insurance Co, also known as Ambetter; Health Alliance Medical Plans; Cigna; and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois as options on the state’s online marketplace this fall, she said.

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