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Highmark seeks 34 percent rate hike for ACA plans

Department of Health and Human Services

For the second year in a row, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware wants to raise rates for insurance plans in the state marketplace by more than 30 percent.


Highmark has asked Delaware’s Department of Insurance to approve a 33.6 percent increase in rates for 2018.


Highmark is assuming cost-sharing subsidies and an individual mandate won’t be in place next year as Republican lawmakers work to weaken and repeal the Affordable Care Act.


Sen. Tom Carper said this is exactly what many experts have been expecting as Republican lawmakers "sabotage" the ACA by creating uncertainty in the marketplaces. 



"The result is skyrocketing premiums for hardworking families who may no longer be able to afford coverage," he said. 


Without the mandate, many healthy people may forgo insurance, leaving Highmark with less money to offset older and sicker customers.


And without cost-sharing subsidies, Highmark will lose millions of dollars in federal funding.


This comes following Highmark's increase in rates for 2017 by 32.5 percent.     


And in May, Aetna announced plans to pull out of Delaware’s Marketplace at the end of this year, leaving Highmark as the only remaining provider for 2018.


“Without competition from other companies and with the Affordable Care Act’s fate left up to members of the federal government who appear to oppose it, we are in a difficult position," said Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro.


About 27,000 people in Delaware have insurance through the ACA Marketplace.


The Department of Insurance still has to approve the rate hike.


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