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Maryland ObamaCare rates set to decrease

Maryland ObamaCare rates set to decrease
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Premiums for ObamaCare plans in Maryland will drop an average of 13 percent next year, state officials announced Friday, a dramatic departure from what insurers had initially proposed.

The decrease comes after the federal government approved Maryland’s plan to shore up its ObamaCare markets by establishing a “reinsurance” program.

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The program was the result of a bipartisan effort from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. Without it, premiums were set to skyrocket, putting the state’s insurance market in danger of collapsing.

Prior to the reinsurance program, insurers had requested an average rate increase of 30.2 percent, with increase requests ranging from 91.4 percent to 18.5 percent across carriers.

For example, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is the largest insurer in the Mid-Atlantic, had initially asked state regulators for an average 26.4 percent increase across its plans. As a result of the reinsurance program, CareFirst will now lower premiums by 17 percent compared to last year.

“Rather than huge increases in health insurance rates, we are instead delivering significantly and dramatically lower rates for Marylanders,” Hogan said in a statement. “For the first time since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, all individual insurance rates in Maryland will go down instead of up.”

The Trump administration has approved similar reinsurance programs in six other states, but Maryland's will be the largest and is valued at $462 million.