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Louisiana health insurance exchange

2015 premiums likely to climb

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  • By
  • healthinsurance.org contributor
  • September 10, 2014

Preliminary filings from insurance companies in Louisiana show marketplace health insurance premiums increasing nearly 18 percent in 2015, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute. PwC notes that Louisiana only reports on insurers requesting a 10 percent or greater increase. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana is the state’s largest health insurer — overall and on the health insurance marketplace — and it is seeking increases in the range of 18 to 20 percent. The rates will be reviewed by the federal government by late fall.

The enrollment period to purchase health insurance for 2015 starts on Nov. 15. To be covered beginning Jan. 1, 2015, you must sign up by Dec. 15.

Louisiana is among the 26 states that left all responsibility for its health insurance marketplace to the federal government. Gov. Bobby Jindal repeatedly rejected a state-run exchange and even returned a $1 million federal planning grant.

Jindal also rejected Medicaid expansion in the state, a decision that leaves 34 percent of uninsured Louisiana adults in the coverage gap — neither qualifying for Medicaid nor eligible for subsidies to purchase insurance through marketplace. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 866,000 Louisiana residents are uninsured and almost 242,000 of them are shut out of both Medicaid and subsidies to purchase insurance through the marketplace.

The decision against Medicaid expansion affects not only uninsured individuals, but also Louisiana healthcare providers and its overall economy. The state provided $18 million in stopgap funding in late August when Baton Rouge General Mid City Hospital announced it would close its emergency room due to the expense of providing uncompensated care for the uninsured. An Urban Institute study says Louisiana is losing out on $15.8 billion in funding between 2013 and 2022 by not expanding Medicaid, while contributing $5.7 billion in taxes over the same period that will be used states that have expanded.

During 2014 open enrollment, 101,778 Louisiana residents — about one in five of those eligible — signed up for a qualified health plan (QHP) according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Eighty-eight percent of those who signed up for a QHP qualified for financial assistance, which is 3 points higher than the national figure. In addition to those purchasing private insurance, 14,359 people qualified for either Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) under existing eligibility criteria.

Louisiana health insurance exchange links


State Exchange Profile: Louisiana
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Louisiana’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.

Louisiana Department of Insurance, Office of Health Insurance
Assists consumers who have purchased insurance on the individual market or who have insurance through an employer who only does business in Louisiana.
(225) 219-4770 / Toll Free: (800) 259-5301