As recently reported by various news sources, a recent audit by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General has revealed that 22 out of the 23 health insurance Co-Op’s formed as a result of the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare”, lost money in 2014.
What many of these articles fail to mention, however, is that here in South Carolina, Consumers Choice Health Plan has actually beat projections! As reported in the HHS OIG audit, as of 12/31/2014 net income for Consumers Choice Health Plan was -$3,808,177. What is important to note, however, is that projected net income for CCHP-SC was -$8,135,435. This means that Consumers Choice beat expectations by just over $4.3 million! This is obviously a positive development, and will hopefully prove to enhance competition and choice of health plans for South Carolina residents!
Consumers Choice Health Plan – Looking forward
It is also important to note that, looking forward, initial projections called for Consumers Choice to expect a net loss of $3,852,901 for 2015. Based on initial projections, Consumers Choice is not expected to turn a profit of $1,050,934 for 2016. Of course, given past performance in 2014, reality may be more optimistic. As most industry experts agree, sustainability in health insurance markets is not achieved overnight. A health plan must make incremental improvements to maintain sustainability, while providing quality and value for their membership. Given the positive results so far, we hope that Consumers Choice Health Plan can maintain its positive growth, and provide quality health plan options for South Carolina residents.
On Friday, October 10, 2014, the South Carolina Department of Insurance released a summary of 2015 South Carolina health insurance rate increases for each insurer in South Carolina. Overall, it appears that the average increase across all South Carolina health plans will be approximately 1%, as reported by Charleston’s Post & Courier. At the surface, it appears this is very good news for South Carolina residents fearing a big rate increase for 2015.
2015 South Carolina Health Insurance Rate Increases: A Deeper look.
Of course, the 1% overall increase doesn’t tell the entire story. Currently, the SC Department Of Insurance has not released detailed rate information, however, as your #1 South Carolina Obamacare Agent, SChealthconnector has been tracking these rate increases very closely. Using data we have collected in addition to rate filing information released by the SC DOI we would like to provide our readers with as much rate data as possible. Before we get started, it is important to note that in South Carolina, insurers can charge different amounts via county and via plan. For example, an insurer could raise a Gold plan rate in Orangeburg, while also lowering Silver plan rates in Orangeburg. Rate increases and decreases are very specific and many insurers have numerous plans in each metal category (Bronze, Silver, Gold)!
The first thing that caught our eye on the DOI rate release was the wide variation in rates with Consumers Choice Healthplan rate decrease minimum of -35.00% and rate increase maximums of 38.50%. I suspect the -35% rate DECREASES to affect South Carolina counties where Consumers Choice was renting the Medcost network for 2014. Renting provider networks is a very pricey proposition. Time/Assurant is another insurer that rents their provider network, and as we can see in the SC DOI rate information, it is reflected in rate increases of 7%-35% for Assurant. The average increase for Assurant was 21%, according to the published figures.
One bright spot of the 2015 South Carolina health insurance rate increase data are actually a couple of DECREASES! Overall, the SCDOI is reporting an average DECREASE of -2.11% for Bluechoice and -2.34% for Bluecross. We have also been told that both companies will offer family plans for 2015. For 2014, Bluecross and Bluechoice only offered individual plans, much to our dismay. I will also note that I am expecting another major announcement from Bluecross and Bluechoice shortly regarding network expansion for 2015. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything further – stay tuned, or drop me and email, call or tweet to find out more.
Regarding Coventry, the 2015 SC health insurance rate increase summary indicates an average increase of 5.3% for Coventry Health Care. The biggest news for Coventry in South Carolina was the addition of marketplace plans in a few counties that only had Coventry plans available OFF MARKETPLACE for 2014. It appears York county and Lancaster county will now have Coventry plans offered on the marketplace, along with a few others.
York county will have new health plan options on the marketplace for 2015!
Coventry was the first insurer to begin sending out rate change letters to South Carolina residents for 2015. Based on what I have seen so far, it appears that in the lowcountry, Coventry’s Gold plans are running approximately 10.81% and Coventry’s lowest price Bronze plan option appears to be running approximately 3.87% higher based on renewal data we have collected so far. Based on detailed plan information we have been able to view so far, we do not anticipate major benefits changes for 2015, though Coventry has indicated the are making changes to their most popular plans (Silver and Bronze).
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