We mistakenly reported in this story that Attorney Pepper Crutcher represents United Healthcare. He does not. The story should have said the company is a client in his firm. We regret the error.
Mississippians could see a substantial increase in healthcare premiums purchased through the Affordable Care Act. The Insurance Department approved rate hikes.
The Mississippi Insurance Department approved an average rate increase of 43 percent for Humana Insurance Company. It's one of two insurers selling policies through the Affordable Care Act's federal exchange in the state. Bob Williams with the department says the majority of Humana customers covered through the ACA receive a subsidy, which will help offset the rate hike. He explains the rates involve a number of factors.
"It depends on the county in state you're in. It depends on your actual policy that you have with Humana. It depends on what you've picked the actual policy that you picked. It is a Gold Plan. It is a Silver Plan, said Williams.
The insurance department also approved a seven percent increase for Magnolia Health the other insurer. Attorney Pepper Crutcher who represents United Healthcare, says the government agreed to reimburse insurers for their losses, but last year said they would pay 12.6 percent on the dollar. Also, the ACA needs young enrollees to balance the cost of covering those who are older and sick. Crutcher says the mandate requiring people enroll was water-downed and penalties aren't enforced, so companies are raising their rates nationwide.
"This year is the first time that insurers are pricing coverage through the exchange in most markets to really reflect the losses they expect to take on that coverage," said Crutcher.
The Mississippi Insurance Department says United Healthcare will pull out of the exchange at the end of the year. About 70,000 people are covered through ACA. Ninety-four percent receive subsidies.