GMCB approves health insurance rates hikes of 11.7% for Blue Cross and 18.3% for MVP

Vermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) issued decisions Thursday requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc to lower the premiums they wanted to charge individuals and small businesses for health insurance plans in 2023. BCBSVT asked for a 15.4% increase and got 11.7% in the small group (business) plan; MVP asked for a 23.4% increase and got 18.3%. The increase in rates for individuals were similar (see below). Despite the reductions, the rates are still the highest approved since August 2019.

Approximately 72,000 Vermonters were enrolled in these plans as of March 2022.

The large rate increases proposed by MVP and BCBSVT this year were driven by several factors, including rising costs for specialty pharmaceuticals and higher costs paid to health care providers for delivering services, which in turn are being driven by inflationary and workforce pressures being faced by many sectors of the economy.

After a thorough review, the Board, acting within its statutory authority, and balancing a number of statutory factors, reduced BCBSVT’s and MVP’s proposed rates by the amounts reflected in the following tables:

Small Group – Average Annual Increase Over 2022 Rates

Insurer

Rate Request (PMPM)**

Board Approved (PMPM)**

BCBSVT

15.4% ($94 PMPM)

11.7%* ($71 PMPM)

MVP

23.4% ($135 PMPM)

18.3%* ($106 PMPM)

Individual & Family – Average Annual Increase Over 2022 Rates

Insurer

Rate Request (PMPM)**

Board Approved (PMPM)**

BCBSVT

14.9% ($104 PMPM)

11.4%* ($79 PMPM)

MVP

24.4% ($164 PMPM)

19.3%* ($130 PMPM)

*These rate increases represent averages across different benefit plans with varying levels of cost sharing. For small group, the plan-level increases approved range from 9.1% to 15.3% for BCBSVT and 10.5% to 21.5% for MVP. For individual and family plans , the plan-level increases approved range from 8.8% to 15.3% for BCBSVT and 11.3% to 26.3% for MVP.

**Per member per month (PMPM) is the dollar amount a member pays each month for a health care plan.

Health Care Subsidies and Additional Resources

  • Approximately 5,500 Vermonters could still save money in 2022 on their monthly premium by signing up through Vermont Health Connect (VHC). To find out if you qualify for a subsidy, use the VHC Plan Comparison Tool.
  • Vermonters can use the Plan Comparison Tool starting October 14, 2022, to compare plans for 2023. Open enrollment for 2023 plans begins November 1, 2022.
  • As of August 4, 2022, it remains uncertain whether Congress will renew for 2023 the expanded premium tax credits initially made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Information is available here about ARPA and how it impacts you and your eligibility for premium assistance.
  • For questions about your health insurance or health care access, please contact Vermont Legal Aid’s Office of the Health Care Advocate at 1-800-917-7787.

Last year’s filings reviewed by the Board were significantly impacted by the “unmerging” of the individual and small group health insurance markets for 2022, which was done to take advantage of the enhanced subsidies available to individuals under ARPA. Unmerging the markets had the effect of lowering small group premiums (BCBSVT -6.2%; MVP 0.8%) and increasing individual premiums (BCBSVT 4.7%; MVP 12.7%) compared to what they otherwise would have been, with the enhanced subsidies offsetting the increased premiums in the individual market.

8.4.2022. Montpelier, VT – The Green Mountain Care Board

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