Some premiums for Ky. health exchange to skyrocket in 2017

Published: Aug. 25, 2016 at 10:17 AM EDT
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Kentuckians who rely on the state's health exchange for insurance should brace themselves for premiums that could skyrocket as much as 47 percent in 2017.

The Kentucky Department of Insurance approved the increases requested by insurance companies selling individual and small group health benefit plans in Kentucky.

While Golden Rule Insurance Company wanted a 65.11 percent increase in its rates, it was only granted one for 47.18 percent. The next highest approved increases were 31 percent for Humana Health Plan individual customers; 29.3 percent for CareSource Kentucky's individual customers; and 27.9 percent for Baptist Health Plan's individual customers; and

"The Department of Insurance carefully reviewed each request to ensure its compliance with Kentucky law, pushed back where possible and sought to ensure each request was properly

supported," said H. Brian Maynard, commissioner of the Department of Insurance.

The department blames the increases on "national trends, market forces, an aging population and the general instability injected in the state health insurance market by Obamacare, insurance companies had requested rate increases."

Maynard says Kentuckians in particular have felt the damaging effects of Obamacare since the failure of the Kentucky Health Cooperative which required the remaining insurers to absorb

the more than 50,000 former Co-op customers. Many of those customers were high risk customers which are driving up costs for others, according to the department.

Commissioner Maynard recommends "during this year's open enrollment period, Kentuckians should consult their health insurance policies to determine how the 2017 rates will affect their premiums and shop around to compare those premiums with other available policies."

In general, insurers' individual premiums will depend on unique factors that include a consumer's age, whether the consumer smokes and where the consumer lives.