In Early Rate Filings, ACA Plans Largely Shrug at COVID Effects

From lingering COVID-19 impacts to potential enrollment increases from expanded subsidies and slimmed-down Medicaid rolls, health plans have had a slew of factors to consider when filing their 2022 rate request for Affordable Care Act exchange plans. Based on what information can be gleaned from a look at the earliest of these filings, many insurers seem to be projecting a return to pre-pandemic normalcy in 2022.

“I felt like for many carriers, they were looking at 2022 almost as if COVID hadn’t occurred,” says Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “I was surprised at how little discussion there was, generally, of long-term COVID impact.”

As she has done in past years, Corlette recently published a blog post detailing her observations after reviewing rate filings made in May and June by the District of Columbia, Maine, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Most states require insurers to submit their proposed premium rates for 2022 sometime in July.

In her post, Corlette points out that “in Oregon, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, MODA, and PacificSource’s proposed 2022 rate changes do not include any adjustment for COVID-19.” And none of the insurers in the states she examined indicated that they think there will be a repeat of the depressed utilization of elective and preventive care services that occurred in 2020.

© 2021 MMIT

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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