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Health insurers ask Delaware for marketplace rate hikes

Two health insurers are asking Delaware for major rate increases to the Affordable Care Act plans they offer on the state’s marketplace.


The state’s insurance department says Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is seeking a 25.4 percent increase in the individual market, and a 12.7 percent increase for small groups.


Aetna, meanwhile, has asked for a 16 percent individual increase and a 6.1 percent increase in the small group market.


Karen Weldin Stewart is the commissioner for the state Department of Insurance. She says these requests reflect a trend of rate increases happening across the country -- but certain factors have made Delaware one of the most expensive states for health insurance.


“It has gone up because Delaware has a larger aged population," Stewart says. "There are now people who are insured who haven’t been insured before, and there are longer stays in hospitals.”


She says she and her staff plan to "vigorously examine" the increase requests in an effort to reduce them. The state can reject rates it considers excessive.


“My actuaries and I, and our staff, will be going through each of these rates to try and bring down -- or give the price over to the Delaware consumer that we can," Stewart says.


Her department will also bring insurance representatives to public meetings later this month to answer questions and take public comment. Those sessions are set for June 15 at 1 p.m. at the Georgetown campus of Delaware Technical and Community College, June 15 at 6 p.m. at the Insurance Department building in Dover, and June 16 at 6 p.m. at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington.

And the state will take written comment on the increase requests from June 15 to July 15 at Details are at

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