Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield requests 5.8% insurance rate cut

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware has submitted its annual rate filing to the Delaware Department of Insurance. This year’s request marks the first decrease after several years of substantial hikes.

Highmark BCS, which is the only insurer operating in Delaware’s health care Marketplace, has proposed cutting its rate 5.8 percent for 2020. The cut will benefit 20,000 Delawareans.

Last year, the insurer raised the rate 3 percent on silver plans. By applying the rate increase to silver level plans only, a practice known as ‘silver-loading,’ Delaware’s Marketplace received more federal subsidies, helping to assist in stabilizing the market and lowering premiums.

“The silver loading strategy is something my staff and I gave careful consideration to last year, in anticipation that it would result in rate stabilization or possibly a decrease,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “While I am happy that we will see a decrease in the proposed rate, health insurance remains unaffordable for many Delawareans who do not qualify for premium subsidies.”

The proposed rate decrease is unrelated to Delaware’s planned submission of a 1332 Waiver to establish a reinsurance program. If the application process is successful, the actuarial consultant’s projections are correct, and the State of Delaware secures adequate funding, the waiver program may decrease rates by an additional 20%.

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