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Obamacare Rates For 2019 Will Actually Decline In Some States

2018 - 2019 Obamacare Rates By State With And Without CSR Payments

First and foremost let us start this off by saying that we are much more optimistic about the 2018 - 2019 enrollment season then we ever have been before. For the record, open enrollment starts on November 1st, 2018 and runs through December 15th, 2018.

Don't worry, this is not going to turn into a "here's the good news and here's the bad news" update. We really only have good news to share and this almost never happens!

Not only are there more carriers coming back into the exchange, but we can't believe it, some are even quite enthusiastic about it. Some have even openly expressed their frustration about not being able to move into additional states this year, instead of next year. This is in short, amazingly good news for consumers. We hope that you believe us when we say that we don't really have a political bias when we research and provide information to the millions of consumers who rely on us each year. We don't have to take a side when it comes to this kind of thing because well, "math is math" and there's no disputing it.

That said, when we say that the ACA is gaining positive traction in 2018 and certainly heading into 2019 despite President Trump's various attempts to dismantle Obamacare, which he openly admits to, we are not taking a side.

Obamacare is starting to gain positive momentum, and insurance carriers are actually getting excited about the opportunities it could provide to them long term. That's incredibly great news for consumers, because competition almost always decreases costs. What we are going to outline below, are the filed rate requests by insurance carriers, on average per state. These rates reflected below are provided in two ways. Rates if cost sharing reduction payments (CSR) are made by the Trump Administration, and costs without the CSR payments. Last year, President Trump cuts the CSR's, and this year, we should expect more of the same.

In fact, if there's one negative heading into open-enrollment, it is because President Trump has cut more funding from Healthcare.gov's overall budget. This impacts marketing, community outreach, and internal operations capabilities. Enrolling over the phone with a HC.gov rep could be considerably more difficult this year because less of them will be available, as well as finding a local HC.gov enrollment center. That said, we have some additional good news that we will share below this chart that will help you bypass some of the headaches you could run into with respect to HC.gov and its limitations for certain types of enrollments.

2019 Obamacare Rates By State 

STATE Approved Rate With CSR Payments Approved Rate Without CSR Payments
Alabama (AL) 2019 Obamacare Rates -16.41% -2.01%
Alaska (AK) 2019 Obamacare Rates -9.60% -3.90%
Arizona (AZ) 2019 Obamacare Rates -18.97% -5.27%
Arkansas (AR) 2019 Obamacare Rates -7.96% 4.54%
California (CA) 2019 Obamacare Rates 5.20% 8.70%
Colorado (CO) 2019 Obamacare Rates -5.10% 5.94%
Connecticut (CT) 2019 Obamacare Rates 7.43% 12.30%
Delaware (DE) 2019 Obamacare Rates -7.00% 3.00%
District of Columbia (DC) 2019 Obamacare Rates 6.42% 15.52%
Florida (FL) 2019 Obamacare Rates -2.50% 8.80%
Georgia (GA) 2019 Obamacare Rates -5.82% 6.14%
Hawaii (HI) 2019 Obamacare Rates 3.82% 13.82%
Idaho (ID) 2019 Obamacare Rates -2.78% 8.00%
Illinois (IL) 2019 Obamacare Rates -12.18% 0.72%
Indiana (IN) 2019 Obamacare Rates -7.90% 5.10%
Iowa (IA) 2019 Obamacare Rates -5.00% 3.00%
Kansas (KS) 2019 Obamacare Rates -3.49% 6.11%
Kentucky (KY) 2019 Obamacare Rates -0.35% 12.15%
Louisiana (LA) 2019 Obamacare Rates -15.70% -6.40%
Maine (ME) 2019 Obamacare Rates -8.99% 1.01%
Maryland (MD) 2019 Obamacare Rates -6.56% 0.55%
Massachusetts (MA) 2019 Obamacare Rates 4.12% 4.12%
Michigan (MI) 2019 Obamacare Rates -3.44% 1.69%
Minnesota (MN) 2019 Obamacare Rates -15.40% -8.00%
Mississippi (MS) 2019 Obamacare Rates -9.85% 0.15%
Missouri (MO) 2019 Obamacare Rates -10.32% 1.88%
Montana (MT) 2019 Obamacare Rates -3.90% 6.00%
Nebraska (NE) 2019 Obamacare Rates -12.60% 1.00%
Nevada (NV) 2019 Obamacare Rates -7.70% 2.30%
New Hampshire (NH) 2019 Obamacare Rates -26.33% -13.47%
New Jersey (NJ) 2019 Obamacare Rates -9.20% -9.20%
New Mexico (NM) 2019 Obamacare Rates 4.02% 10.02%
New York (NY) 2019 Obamacare Rates 8.60% 8.60%
North Carolina (NC) 2019 Obamacare Rates -8.10% -4.10%
North Dakota (ND) 2019 Obamacare Rates -15.38% 7.42%
Ohio (OH) 2019 Obamacare Rates -4.90% 6.30%
Oklahoma (OK) 2019 Obamacare Rates -14.31% -1.91%
Oregon (OR) 2019 Obamacare Rates 1.20% 7.30%
Pennsylvania (PA) 2019 Obamacare Rates -5.52% 0.70%
Rhode Island (RI) 2019 Obamacare Rates 8.86% 9.66%
South Carolina (SC) 2019 Obamacare Rates -2.28% 9.22%
South Dakota (SD) 2019 Obamacare Rates -10.86% 3.54%
Tennessee (TN) 2019 Obamacare Rates -22.79% -10.79%
Texas (TX) 2019 Obamacare Rates -10.61% 1.52%%
Utah (UT) 2019 Obamacare Rates -14.00% 0.49%
Vermont (VT) 2019 Obamacare Rates 1.65% 6.06%
Virginia (VA) 2019 Obamacare Rates -2.70% 11.34%
Washington (WA) 2019 Obamacare Rates 5.08% 19.08%
West Virginia (WV) 2019 Obamacare Rates 1.55% 14.85%
Wisconsin (WI) 2019 Obamacare Rates -16.50% -3.50%
Wyoming (WY) 2019 Obamacare Rates -12.65% -0.25%

As you can see in the chart, not all states are seeing declines. That said, overall the national average ends up being about 5% lower if CSR payments end up being made and rates are readjusted to account for CSR offset. If CSR payments are not made, then rates will increase nationally by about 4%. Some states however, are seeing significant declines regardless. For example, Tennessee (TN) is seeing a rate decrease of nearly 11% without CSR payments, and a decrease of 22% if CSR payments are made. New Jersey is seeing a 9% decrease with or without CSR's.

Additional News About Obamacare's Open-Enrollment For 2018 - 2019 That We Think Is Incredibly Good For Consumers

While there have been many budget and funding cuts to Obamacare by President Trump, which will only make it more difficult for individuals to enroll in a plan over the phone or in person with a Healthcare.gov navigator, there's one area where things have improved.

Starting this OEP, you will have the ability to enroll easily with an approved Healthcare.gov WBE, or Web Broker. This will in effect allow you to enroll in the exact same plans you can with Healthcare.gov online or over the phone, paying the exact same price, but with a process that can be significantly faster and more streamlined. Web-brokers are not allowed to increase the cost of a plan, and they are required to make the exact same plans available to every consumer that Healthcare.gov does. One of the main advantages of working with a WBE vs simply relying on Healthcare.gov, is that you can directly connect with a licensed health insurance professional who can answer any of the questions you might have. Healthcare.gov navigators are almost always non-licensed individuals, and because of that, are not legally allowed to provide you with their opinion regarding what plan would be best for your specific requirements. That can only be done by a licensed health insurance professional.

Additionally, WBE's have some ability to provide you with a layer of additional data regarding what plans are providing the best level of coverage, and in effect, which are a better value for your specific needs. Healthcare.gov is a government website, and as such, they are not allowed to provide any sort of opinion, rating or bias towards one plan vs another, strictly because of regulatory reasons. Generally speaking, just providing the facts without any detailed context of the "hows and whys" or showing any kind of a bias, is a good thing. Where it is not a good thing, and can end up being frustrating for consumers, is when you are shopping for any type of complicated insurance product. Health insurance is unfortunately highly complicated, regionalized. Without question when it comes to Obamacare, the details matter and being able to lean on someone with a lot of experience, or rely on a data driven comparative analysis, can mean all the difference when shopping for health insurance.

This year in particular, when costs are declining dramatically in a large number of states, and when shopping around could result in significant savings, having some help from a trusted consumer facing entity, it can make a world of difference.

Consumer Warning For 2019: Comparing Insurance Plans Is Good, But Sharing Your Personal Health Information To Simply Get A Quote Can Be Dangerous

One of the reasons why we are going to be actively engaging with consumers and warning consumers, in a more direct way this year is largely because of two reasons.

  • Short term health insurance plans have been somewhat deregulated, which in some ways is good. That said, this deregulation is also going to really incentivize the less than ethical companies and individuals, or the "underbelly" of the industry, to really resort to slimy tactics to make money. This means not being 100% truthful about the limitations of short term health insurance, or knowingly selling plans that don't meet consumers requirements, simply to make money. This type of behavior is common in every industry unfortunately, the difference here though, is that people's lives are at stake. We are, and always have been, a consumer focused company. We always place people first. Short term health insurance can be a fit for certain people, but only under the right circumstances. If you literally can't afford an ACA plan because you do not qualify for a subsidy, then a short term plan might be your only choice. We're serious about giving consumers the FACTS about short term health insurance, which is precisely why we built a site that is dedicated to educating consumers about it. The website is appropriately called ShortTermHealthInsurance.com.
  • The second reason we are engaging with, and warning consumers in a more direct way, is because for the first time ever we really have lost faith in organic search results in Google for "Obamacare" and health insurance search terms in general. There has been a large increase in the number of websites that have gained significant organic ranking that are purely focused on generating leads, and reselling consumer data, not providing actual health insurance plan rate information. One recent example, is ObamacareUSA.org. It is an outdated website with graphics, content and imagery that reference 2017, which is not a good sign. That aside, the site does not actually provide consumers with information for on-exchange plans. Furthermore in independent testing we have performed, we have found that after submitting our information to this website, within 48 hours we had been contacted more than 18 times. More troubling, is that aside from being robo-dialed excessively which is something consumers openly complain about, and the government is taking steps to crack down on, we also received text messages from three different individuals. One of these text messages had a link that once clicked on, brought us to a page that would then directly connect us to even more lead generation companies who would repeat this same process. We do not think that Google is intentionally showing sites like ObamacareUSA.org in organic results intentionally. What often occurs is that questionable "disposable" urls like ObamacareUSA.org, use various tactics to artificially move up in Google results. For the record, we're not the only consumer focused entity that has questioned ObamacareUSA.org's business practices. Back in 2015, Pando.com investigative reporter David Holmes did an expose about the health insurance lead generation industry, and ObamacareUSA.org was a site that was found to use some of the most abusive practices of any other companies. For the record, HealthNetwork, was not. We were the only company that was found to not use abusive practices at all. Here's a link to Pando.com's investigative report.

Closing Thoughts On Open Enrollment And How We Plan To Serve Consumers

This open-enrollment really looks encouraging, because rates have in overall decreased, and it is possible that they will continue to decline and eventually stabilize. Obamacare has more support from Americans than ever before, and insurance carriers, the most critical component of the entire health insurance market, are actually excited about the long term viability of the market. At Obamacare.net, which is a HealthNetwork property, we are going to continue to bring honesty, transparency and the best customer service we can to consumers seeking affordable health insurance options. Simply put, we're going to continue to treat others how we would want to be treated. Because People Matter.

We will continue to update this information regarding rates as it becomes available.

 

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