RI Insurance Commission Approves Double-Digit Rate Hike for Blue Cross

Aug 17, 2017

Rhode Island state regulators have granted permission to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island to raise its 2018 rates for individual health insurance plans, on average, by 12 percent.

The double-digit rate hike is almost 2 percentage points lower than the 13.9 percent increase Blue Cross had requested.

The main drivers of the increases are soaring prescription drug costs, higher hospital outpatient use and the reinstatement of a federal health insurance tax, which adds up to 2 percent to most premiums, the state Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner said in a statement. 

Blue Cross is one of two insurers that filed requests to sell plans on the individual market. The other, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, was granted its request for a 5 percent rate increase in 2018.

The state health commissioner’s office also shaved several percentage points off of Blue Cross’s request for its small group and large group rates. The agency has approved a 7.3 percent rate hike for small groups, and 10.5 percent for large groups. Blue Cross had requested increases of 8.6 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. 

The approved rates are $16.7 million less than the rate hikes insurers requested for 2018,  commissioner’s office said.