Idaho insurance rates to increase sharply

Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Health care plans through the Idaho exchange program are slated for substantial rate hikes starting next year.

On average, rates will go up 38 percent, with SelectHealth of Idaho seeking the sharpest spike at 44 percent and Montana Health Cooperative proposing the lowest at 25 percent. Meanwhile, rates for silver plans on the Idaho health exchange, the most popular plans for their mid-tier coverage, will increase on average 50 percent. The highest individual increase comes form PacificSource Health Plans, which listed a silver plan increase of 81 percent.

“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated to share these rates,” said Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron in a press release. “I understand how difficult it will be for Idahoans to afford reasonable coverage, especially those without a subsidy.”

According to Cameron, uncertainty from the federal government is the cause of the rate spikes. In particular, President Donald Trump’s overtures toward slashing cost-sharing reduction payments have contributed to the uncertainty. Congressional inaction on an Obamacare replacement plan has also exacerbated the situation, with insurance companies unsure how much cost they will ultimately bear.

Cameron asks Congress to address three key issues at the root of the rate increases: fund or repeal the cost-sharing reduction mechanism, fund high-risk reinsurance pools and allow true consumer choice of plans either on or off the exchange.

“The proposed rate increases demonstrate the need for changes to the federal law. Idaho’s congressional delegation has been responsive and responsible, but we must help them deliver the message to their colleagues,” said Cameron.

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