One of the largest healthcare insurance companies in the Mid-Atlantic region is stating that it will need to increase premiums by double-digits next year to avoid losing more money. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield insures 215,000 people in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. CareFirst has been selling plans in the marketplace for four years and the insurer is projecting that it will have lost $600 million by the end of this year. CareFirst is requesting a 29 percent increase for premiums in D.C., a 35 percent increase in premiums in northern Virginia, and an increase of over 50 percent in Maryland for premiums. Chet Burrell, chief executive of CareFirst, stated:
What we’re seeing is greater sickness levels. The pool of beneficiaries is becoming sicker, in part because healthier people are not coming in at the same level we hoped. We were hoping for more stability. The factors that I have described to you today lead to instability and to a spiral, and we think we are in the beginning of that.
Insurers need to file their requested premium rates for the upcoming year in advance in many states, which are then review by insurance commissioners before being finalized. Aetna, a major national healthcare insurance company, has already stated that it plans to leave the marketplace completely by 2018 because of losses.
It is not yet known if CareFirst will get its requests approved, but it will be a worrying sign if they do get approved because premium rates were not expected to be raised again after they were raised this year throughout the nation.
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