Health insurance companies announce plan to keep rates stable
Three of Arkansas’ largest health insurance companies have announced that they will keep rates for individual policyholders steady through the first year of the Affordable Care Act. The federal health care law has raised many concerns regarding the growing costs of health insurance coverage. Many people believe that the law will cause rates to spike in the individual and group markets and these concerns are often stoked by insurance providers. In many states, however, rates are expected to increase by a lower percentage than many had feared. In Arkansas, insurers are looking to mitigate the financial impact of the health care law on behalf of policyholders.
Policyholders have a chance to freeze their rates through 2014
Arkansas’ Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and QualChoice Health Insurance, will offer consumers an opportunity to “freeze” their rates at their current levels when they renew their policies on December 31, 2013. These rates will remain the same through December 30, 2014.The move is meant to provide policyholders with some degree of stability while insurers work to manage the impact of the Affordable Care Act.
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Costly regulations urge insurers to raise rates
The federal law is set to go fully active on January 1, 2014. Per the law, health insurance companies will be required to provide coverage to consumers with pre-existing conditions and other demographics that had previously gone without insurance coverage. While this may be good news for these consumers, this represents a financial impact for health insurance companies. In order to offset this impact, insurers raise rates on coverage and individual policyholders tend to experience the brunt of this financial burden.
Insurers working to offset financial impact of federal law
Together, the three insurers account for 90% of the health insurance policies in Arkansas. The companies are working to comply with new federal regulations and may eventually be forced to raise rates on coverage in order to account for the financial implications of the federal law. These companies are also likely to participate in the state’s health insurance exchange, which will serve as a marketplace where consumers can find affordable coverage options.