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Public comment sessions surrounding ACA, Highmark rate hike start next week

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Department of Health and Human Services
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Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro says his office has hired an independent actuary to analyze whether or not Highmark’s rate increase is justified.

The actuary – along with Navarro and a representative from Highmark – will be on hand at a series of public comment sessions starting July 31st in New Castle County.

“And we’re keeping those comments, recording them as well – and all of those factors including the rate filing, the independent actuary and what happens in Washington, D.C. will all go into my decision regarding the rate increase," Navarro said.

Under Delaware law, the insurance commissioner is required to consider public comments when a rate increase request is proposed. In addition to three in-person sessions, the Dept. of Insurance is accepting comments on its website.

Highmark is the lone healthcare provider in Delaware’s ACA marketplace now, after Aetna pulled out earlier this year.

In June, Highmark proposed a 33.6% rate increase for 2018, assuming that cost-sharing subsidies and the individual mandate won’t be in place.

Navarro says he’s met with hundreds of insurance companies since his election last fall. But none of them want to make a move now.

“Everyone – every single one – is concerned about the uncertainty in Washington, D.C. and every single one is going to wait at this point to see what happens," Navarro said.

Public comment sessions have been scheduled for the following dates, times and locations:

New Castle County

Monday, July 31, 2017 -- 6 pm to 8 pm

Carvel State Building -  820 N French St, Wilmington, DE 19801

Kent County

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 -- 6 pm to 8 pm

Delaware Department of Insurance - 841 Silver Lake Blvd, Dover, DE 19904

Sussex County

Thursday, August 3, 2017 -- 6 pm to 8 pm

Delaware Tech - Owens Campus - 21179 College Dr, Georgetown, DE 19947

Those with questions should contact the Division of Consumer Services at (302) 674-7310 or by email at consumer@state.de.us

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