Insurance Department says 2020 health insurance rates will drop as legislation takes effect
North Dakota’s legislature put up $31 million with the hope of lowering insurance premiums on the individual market. New data Tuesday shows that move paid off for most of those health insurance plans.
Reinsurance is basically insurance for the companies. The state’s money will offset some of the highest risk for insurance companies, putting a downward pressure on premium prices. The difference between where prices would have been without reinsurance and where they will be for 2020 is about 20 percent. Even with the drastic change, ND Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread says this is a temporary fix.
“What this program does is buy us two years to provide some relief to those farmers, ranchers, and small business owners who desperately need it, buy us some time to get to that reform,” said Godfread.
Getting that reform will be tricky. Godfread worked in previous years for a waiver, similar to the one approved for the reinsurance program, to craft incentivized plans. One example is cutting a person’s premium if they quit using tobacco products. The federal government didn’t approve the waiver, which Godfread says is frustrating.
“The fact that we’ve got to take a good idea forward, as the Insurance Commissioner who knows out marketplace and works in our marketplace,” Godfread started. “to have to go in and say here’s a good idea for our citizens, then I have to go get approval from somebody over here, it seems a little backwards to me.”
Medica and BlueCross BlueShield of North Dakota both issued statements supporting the reinsurance program.
From Andrea Dinneen, BlueCross BlueShield of North Dakota: