Maryland Insurance Administration Announces 10.3% Average Decrease for Individual Market in 2020; Consumers Benefit from Year Two of State Reinsurance Program

News Release, Office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

ANNAPOLIS, MD–Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) has approved an average 10.3% premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans with an effective date of January 1, 2020. This means that, for the second consecutive year, all individual insurance rates in Maryland will see important decreases.

The new rates reflect the impact of the State Reinsurance Program, which has helped to lower rates and stabilize the individual health insurance market after years of major premium increases. Coupled with last year’s decrease of 13.2%, the two-year cumulative impact is a rate decrease of more than 22% versus 2018 premiums.

“By addressing this crisis head-on, we have gone from an individual market on the brink of collapse to two straight years of lower premiums for Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “Last year, after we refused to accept Washington’s failure to act, we came together to deliver lower rates for the first time in more than a decade. Our innovative program to make healthcare more affordable for Marylanders serves as a model for the rest of the nation.”

In 2018, facing predicted health insurance rate increases of up to 50%, the Hogan administration worked in a bipartisan fashion with legislative leaders to develop landmark legislation establishing a state reinsurance program. The legislation directed the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to submit a State Innovation Waiver under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the U.S. Secretaries of Health, Human Services, and Treasury to establish the program. The legislation combined with this waiver set up a reinsurance pool to provide funding for catastrophic claims for policyholders in the individual market.

“After years of devastating rate increases, it is certainly gratifying to see our individual market begin to stabilize,” said Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. “The approved rates have improved over what was originally proposed, due to the hard work of our Chief Actuary and his team, as well as the collaborative work of the insurer’s actuarial teams. We are hopeful that those Marylanders that continue to go uninsured will investigate the benefits and federal subsidies that may be available to them.”

To assist the administration in making its rate decision, MIA actuaries reviewed the data, methodologies, and assumptions companies used to develop their proposed premium rates. The MIA also considered public comments, along with other relevant factors, in determining whether to approve, modify or deny requested rates.

The MIA has approved the following rate increases in the individual market:

Company NameType of NetworkMembers as of 07/31/192020 Filed Renewal2020 Approved RenewalDifference (Approved – Filed)
CareFirst Blue Choice, Inc.HMO108,301-8.9%-14.7%-5.8%
CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst Companies)PPO11,493+9.1%-1.4%-10.5%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.HMO70,686+3.9%-5.0%-8.9%
TOTAL190,480-3.1%-10.3%-7.2%

The MIA has approved the following rate increases in the small group market:

Company NameType of NetworkMembers as of 07/31/192020 Filed Renewal (All Quarters)2020 Approved Renewal (All Quarters)Difference (Approved – Filed)
Aetna Health, Inc.HMO166+14.9%+1.0%-13.9%
Aetna Life Insurance Co.PPO629+13.9%+1.2%-12.7%
CareFirst Blue Choice, Inc.HMO168,2480.0%+0.5%+0.5%
CareFirst of Maryland, Inc. and Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (both CareFirst companies)PPO22,158+8.1%+7.4%-0.7%
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc.HMO10,344+10.2%+10.2%0.0%
UnitedHealthCare of the Mid-AtlanticHMO5,079+7.9%0.0%-7.9%
Optimum Choice (a UHC company)HMO17,205+13.3%+9.4%-3.9%
MAMSI Life and Health Insurance Co. (a UHC company)EPO21,092+13.7%+8.3%-5.4%
UnitedHealthCare Insurance Co.PPO23,895+12.2%+5.4%-6.8%
TOTAL268,816+4.3%+3.0%-1.3%

Summaries of each rate decision are available on the MIA’s rate review website atwww.HealthRates.mdinsurance.state.md.us. Sample approved 2020 premium rates for all companies by geographic region also are available on that website. The sample rates do not reflect any employer contribution, any financial assistance a consumer may receive to reduce premiums or cost-sharing for plans purchased through the state’s health insurance marketplace,www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov.

The Maryland Insurance Administration is an independent State agency charged with regulating Maryland’s $28.5 billion insurance industry. For more information about the Maryland Insurance Administration, please visit www.insurance.maryland.gov.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...