Highmark, Aetna Request Substantial Rate Hikes in Delaware

June 3, 2016

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart announced Thursday that she has received rate request filings from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, Aetna Inc. and Aetna Life for individual and small group plans to be offered on Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace in 2017.

Highmark is asking for a 32.5 percent increase in the individual market, while Aetna Inc. requests 25.0 percent and Aetna Life 23.9 percent. In the small group market, Highmark seeks a 2.7 perent increase, Aetna Inc. asks for 23.2 percent, and Aetna Life requests 18.6 percent.

Stewart said her department will conduct three public information sessions later this month to receive comment on insurers’ requests.

“These large rate increase requests are occurring in many states across the country, and I know they will be a burden for many Delawareans,” said Stewart. “The proposed increases are substantial and I’m going to do my best to reduce them.”

The public information sessions will take place at the following locations in the three counties:

  • June 20, 6:00 p.m. — Carvel State Office Building, 820 N. French Street, in Wilmington
  • June 21, 11:00 a.m. — Delaware Tech Owens Campus, College Theater, Arts & Science Center, 21179 College Drive, in Georgetown
  • June 21, 6:30 p.m. — Delaware Department of Insurance, 841 Silver Lake Boulevard, in Dover

Representatives from Highmark and Aetna will be present at each session. Consumers and interested parties may submit written comments to the Department at ratedivision@state.de.us until July 15. Comments may also be submitted, in writing, to the Delaware Department of Insurance.

Title 18 of the Delaware Code states that insurers may not charge rates that are “excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.”

The staff at the Delaware Department of Insurance reviews rate filings and independent actuaries retained by the department review the supporting data to see if the rate changes are justified.

The commissioner then reviews the actuaries’ findings and the public comment and works with the insurers to arrive at a rate. That rate is submitted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for subsequent review. CMS must follow its own regulations and Delaware law before finally approving or denying the requests.

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