2019 premium requests at Maryland ACA exchange top 91%

Following in the footsteps of their mid-Atlantic neighbors, individual marketplace insurers in Maryland are proposing massive premium hikes for 2019.

According to preliminary filings posted Monday, some of the state's largest ACA insurers are asking to nearly double their premiums. 

CareFirst is requesting a 91.4% premium increase for their individual PPO Plans, while Kaiser is asking for a more modest 37.4% increase. The filings are only proposals and approved rate increases could be higher or lower, as they were in 2018

The filings represent the early stages of what could be a pattern of double-digital hikes in states across the country, following filings from insurers in Virginia late last week. Maryland's two Democratic U.S. Senators were quick to blame President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans. 

"This underscores what the administration has done to adversely affect the individual market," Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told the media in a press call. "There has been intentional action by the Trump administration that has made the marketplace lose the stability it needs."

RELATED: Early 2019 ACA premium filings show double-digit hikes; insurers blame Trump and GOP

The senator also called out the administration for refusing to issue cost-sharing reductions, and congressional Republicans for repealing the individual mandate as part of its tax overhaul.

"This is clearly the result of an ongoing campaign by the Trump administration and Republicans to sabotage the individual market," Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said.

The junior senator also brought up former HHS Secretary Tom Price, who recently said the GOP tax bill's repeal of the individual mandate would increase premiums. Price later walked back his remarks. 

The Senators called for Congress to pass legislation to regularly issue cost-sharing payments without presidential action, as well as fund reinsurance programs. 

"Congress could act on these issues," Cardin said. "But Republicans have been reluctant to issue these reforms."

Cardin added that he expects these increases to be a major issue in the November midterm elections, where Republicans are already fighting against public opinion on the ACA issue.