Breaking News: SC DOI releases 2015 South Carolina ACA marketplace rates!
The SC Department of Insurance on Friday, October 17, 2014 released sample rates for health insurance plans available on the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2015. The sample 2015 South Carolina ACA marketplace rates were for a 40 year old South Carolina resident and rates were given for 5 major metro areas in South Carolina: Charleston, Horry, Greenville, Richland, and York counties. Sample rates were also provided for both smokers and non-smokers, as the Affordable Care Act does allow insurance companies to charge more for tobacco use.
Although we do not yet have a complete set of rates for 2015 South Carolina marketplace plans, the sample information provided by the South Carolina DOI provides a number of insights into what we may see for the 2015 Open Enrollment, beginning November 15, 2014. Let’s break it down by insurer:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
For 2015, it looks like BCBS marketplace rates will actually be LOWER in 2015 for certain regions, notably the coastal areas and the midlands. For example, in Charleston county, the average BCBS Silver plan price for 2015 is $294.88 versus an average 2014 price of $318.10 for a silver plan in Charleston county. This is great news, especially in light of the recent network expansion announcement by BCBS-SC. Last week, we broke a story that Roper St. Francis healthcare system will be in network for marketplace plans in 2015. CLICK HERE for details on the BCBS network expansion. In addition, we have been informed that pediatric dental coverage will not be included in BCBS marketplace plans for 2015 – similar to other marketplace carriers. Eliminating this benefit (you can still buy a standalone pediatric dental policy on the marketplace) makes the Blue companies much more competitive for 2015!
Bluechoice of South Carolina
Similar to BCBS, for 2015 it appears that Bluechoice marketplace rates will actually be LOWER in 2015 for certain regions, notable the coastal areas and the midlands. Rates in Greenville, as illustrated by the SCDOI, look to be flat to slightly lower for most plans in 2015. For example, in Richland county, the average Bluechoice Silver plan price for 2015 is $314.60 versus an average 2014 price of $336.65. This is great news, especially in light of the recent network expansion announcement by Bluechoice. Last week, we broke a story that Roper St. Francis healthcare system will be in network for Bluecross marketplace plans in 2015 – we expect the same in network treatment for Bluechoice, as the 2 insurers essentially share the same network. CLICK HERE for details on the Bluechoice network expansion. Similar to BCBS, Bluechoice will also eliminate the pediatric dental benefit for on exchange policies for 2015, according to our sources.
Consumers Choice Health Plan
Consumers Choice Health Plan was the overall winner for market share for the 2014 open enrollment in South Carolina, so we have been anxious to see what 2015 would look like. For 2014, CCHP was the low price leader in the majority (though certainly not all) South Carolina counties. In the few counties where CCHP was not the low price leader in 2014, we expect CCHP to be the low price leader for 2015, as they have made some network changes in rural areas that should significantly reduce their premiums. Most notably, Newberry county is one of the areas we expect to be affected by an overall price decrease for 2015. Overall, it appears CCHP is getting a slight increase in rates for 2015. Also, it appears CCHP will retain top position as the low price leader among silver plans for the 5 metro area samples provided. It is important to note, however, that rates are getting very close in the upstate among CCHP, Bluecross, Bluechoice and Coventry. In Greenville county for 2015, there is only a $2 difference in price between CCHP and Bluechoice! Hooray for competition!
Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, Inc.
Although not available in all South Carolina counties for 2014, Coventry enrolled a respectable number of South Carolinians due to having access to both MUSC and Roper St. Francis for 2014 marketplace plans using a tiered network model. For 2015, we noticed a few interesting points for Coventry. First, it appears that Coventry is getting a rate increase across the board for 2015, though the amount of increase varies across plans. It appears in most areas, Bronze plans were least affected by increases. It appears Coventry’s Gold plans were hit with an increase of approximately 10% in most areas. Second, it appears Coventry is expanding their Silver plan options from 1 plan in 2014 to 2 plans in 2015. We hope to have more information about this new plan offering by next week, and will update with the latest. Finally, it appears that Coventry will be newly offering plans on the marketplace in York, Lancaster, and Newberry counties for 2015! It is currently rumored that Carolinas Medical Center will be the preferred network provider for the new marketplace product in York & Lancaster.
Time Insurance – Assurant Health
Last, but certainly not least, is Assurant Health, marketed by Time Insurance. Assurant will be a new entrant into the marketplace for 2014 in South Carolina. As the 2015 South Carolina ACA marketplace rates released by the SCDOI indicate, Assurant will be the highest priced option available on the marketplace for 2015. However, we must note, that Assurant will be the ONLY plan available with a broad, quality PPO network on the marketplace. In addition, Assurant will be the only company offering Platinum plans on the marketplace in South Carolina for 2015! Assurant will be a great option for SC residents who demand a wide PPO network (Aetna Signature network), out of network benefits and an open formulary!
If you have questions about anything mentioned above, leave a comment, call or email us!
On November 15th, 2014, South Carolina residents can visit our homepage, click “enroll now” and view 2015 South Carolina ACA marketplace rates, apply for tax credits and enroll quickly!
UPDATE: October 25, 2014 – South Carolina Department has released additional sample rate data for ages 25 and 60!