More health insurance struggles are coming to Missouri in 2018.
First, for those who have been on individual health plans with Anthem, the insurer will stop offering these Affordable Care Act options in 17 Missouri counties, including St. Louis County, as well as to residents of Columbia, Joplin, and Springfield. The reasons are the same faced by other states: the individual health insurance market continues to be volatile, pricing plans to be ACA-compliant is difficult, and federal actions in the past year have further spurred uncertainty about regulation and enforcement of the law as well as the future of subsidy payments to insurers to low-income consumers. Anthem will continue to offer individual health plans for 68 other counties in Missouri, however.
Following the release of these rate requests earlier this month, the public can now review and comment on them. Additionally, the Missouri insurance department can review requested rate increases and determine whether they are reasonable, but cannot deny them outright.
Second, premium rate increases for ACA plans across the board are expected to rise significantly. For remaining customers—roughly 116,000—eligible for Anthem plans, they will see a 36 percent average increase. Centene is offering health plans in the Missouri ACA marketplace for the first time in 2018 and has established monthly premiums of $354.48 on average. And Cigna has requested an average of 42 percent hikes, which will affect 83,760 customers.