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Delaware's ACA insurance rate set to drop amid uncertainty for the health plan's future

Nick Ciolino
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro

Insurance officials are predicting lower rates in Delaware for coverage under the Affordable Care Act next year, but the ACA is at risk of being discontinued.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced Monday Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is anticipating a 5.8 percent decrease in the cost of its ACA Plan for 2020.

The rate has seen double digit increases in recent years and a 3 percent increase for 2019.

Highmark is the only company offering ACA plans in the First State, and Navarro says it made a profit on the plans this year. He says Highmark applied the latest rate increase to its silver plan and the resulting revenue is allowing for the proposed rate decrease for next year.

“In some cases, the bronze plan was very inexpensive—almost free for some folks. And the secondary plan, or what we call the Cadillac plan, came down as well,” said Navarro. “But what happened was it put more federal dollars into our marketplace by silver loading, and that resulted in a decrease this year.”

The anticipated rate drop comes as 18 Republican Attorneys General and Governors are filing to overturn the ACA in a case set to be heard in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals next week.

Amid the uncertainty, Navarro says Delaware intends to apply for a 1332 Waiver under the ACA that allows the state more control of its rate. He says the waiver could reduce Delaware’s rate by as much as 20 percent, but adds there are several roadblocks.

“It requires an application, it requires legislation, it requires approval from [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], it requires Congress to fulfill their obligations, and to me that is one of the biggest roadblocks is to ensure they reimburse what they say they are going to do,” said Navarro.

More than 22,500 people signed up through Delaware’s ACA marketplace in 2019, an 8 percent drop from the year before.

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