Tennessee, Kentucky among states granted hefty rate hikes for 2016

With the third open enrollment period right around the corner, health insurers and states are reporting their finalized premium rates for 2016--and the rate hikes aren't small.

Florida's premiums are set to rise 9.5 percent next year, according to Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation. Aetna's monthly premium rate will land at $381, up from $334 in 2014; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida's monthly rate will be $472, up from $433 last year.

Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak approved BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's proposed 36 percent rate hike last week, and said the insurer's premium spike will cover higher-than-expected claims from sick consumers who signed up for individual policies during the Affordable Care Act's first two years, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark approved Kentucky Health Cooperative's 25.1 percent proposed increase, while Oregon allowed an average 25.6 percent rate hike for Moda Health Plan, the largest plan offered on the state's exchange. Dean Cameron, Idaho's insurance director, said the average 23 percent rate hike by Blue Cross of Idaho was disappointing, but that he had no power to stop it, notes the article.

During the first two years of open enrollment, many plans offered low rates because they weren't sure what to expect. Now, with two years under their belts, insurers are realizing that consumers are more costly to cover than expected. What's more, insurers report that the risk pools are getting worse while spending is accelerating due to provider prices and prescription drug costs.

Elsewhere, other states were able to keep prices relatively low. Covered California, announced recently that premiums are set to increase 4 percent statewide, which the federal government hailed as a sign the ACA is working as intended, while Anthem's proposed 3.8 percent hike in Indiana was granted, adds the WSJ.

For more:
- here's the Florida document on prices
- read the WSJ article

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