Proposed health insurance rates skyrocket in Idaho

Proposed rates for 2018 are about to skyrocket.

BOISE - Prepare for sticker shock if you plan on enrolling for health insurance on Idaho's individual marketplace.

Newly proposed coverage premium rates for 2018 are skyrocketing -- with increases of up to 38 percent, on average.

One provider, SelectHealth of Idaho is proposing a 44 percent spike to its plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans are broken down into three metallic categories, gold silver and bronze.

Idahoans covered by the most popular silver plan could take the biggest hit under these new proposals, with a 50 percent increase.

Director for Idaho's Department of Insurance Dean Cameron says since Obamacare was put in place, insurance companies have been losing money.

“So Obamacare forces the carriers to sell products a certain way with certain benefits, so they are paying out more in claims than they are collecting back in premiums,” says Cameron.

Cameron says that's only part of the reason for the potential price spike.

A cost sharing reimbursement mandate under the Affordable Care Act isn't currently being funded by Congress, and is another price driver.

“Twenty percent of that 38 percent rate increase is tied to the cost sharing reimbursement because the carriers have had to submit their rates assuming that the federal government is not going to pay that because they have said they are not,” says Cameron.

These rates are just for Idahoans in the individual marketplace.

Paxson Lee, co-owner of local food truck Churro Bros, is wondering how these rate proposals will affect his business if he decides to bring on new employees.

“Everything is down to a T, we calculate our flour, sugar oil, everything, even stuff that is not food like spoons, forks and napkins and then health care would be one of those things we have to add in to our marginal costs,” says Lee.

Luckily for Lee, Cameron says these proposed rates won’t be as rough for small business owners, at least for now.

“It’s an average of five percent increase to the small market group, it’s not as bad but it’s still the same principle that exists and it will eventually catch up with the small market group,” says Cameron.

Cameron says he's disappointed with the proposed rates and doesn't have the power to reject these new figures but plans on negotiating with providers and will release finalized rates in mid-September.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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