2023 Health, Dental, Small Group Insurance Rates Announced

Following in-depth reviews by independent actuaries and the Office of Value-Based Health Care Delivery, rates for regulated 2023 health, dental, and small group insurance plans were announced today. While premiums are rising steeply across the country, the extension of consumer-friendly subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act, coupled with Delaware’s strong 2022 enrollment and 2023 Health Insurance Marketplace expansion, will limit consumer impact locally.

“This year, Delaware consumers have more carriers and plans to choose from than ever before, so they can find an affordable plan that meets their needs. We remain optimistic that this increased competition will lead to lower rates and higher care quality over time,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “Delawareans are facing rising costs in nearly every area of life and making difficult sacrifices to afford necessities – but let me be clear, no matter the financial cost, we cannot afford to sacrifice our health. We will continue to work to ensure that coverage is affordable and accessible to all residents.”

Two new health insurers will be joining the Marketplace for 2023. Before tax credits and subsidies, base rates for 21-year-old non-tobacco users range from $315 to $505 across 9 Aetna CVS Health plan options, and from $283 to $402 with AmeriHealth Caritas across 4 plan options. Returning ACA issuer Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware will be increasing rates 5.5% on average, with base rates for 17 plan options ranging from $249 to $618 including a catastrophic plan option. In the last few years, Highmark’s average rates have decreased roughly 10% despite this needed increase.

Plans on the marketplace are spread among metal-level categories – bronze, silver, gold, platinum and catastrophic – and are based on how enrollees choose to split the costs of care with their insurance company.

As always, Commissioner Navarro urges residents to be informed consumers and shop for the best plan for both their needs and their budget. 30 plans are available to Delawareans for the 2023 plan year, and local navigators are available to assist in choosing the right plan. Open Enrollment takes place November 1 through January 15.

Factors Involved in Expansion, Rates

Nationally, insurers are requesting increases due to inflation, increasing costs of care, and rising drug prices. In Delaware, both state and federal legislation contributed to the long-awaited carrier expansion and final rates.

“It’s no coincidence that Delaware was able to expand the number of carrier options on the Health Insurance Marketplace in the same year that laws limiting hospital price growth to appropriate, inflation-conscious levels became enforceable,” said Commissioner Navarro. “The hospital price growth law, for the first time in our state’s history, gave insurers leverage to negotiate lower costs for consumers while still ensuring that hardworking healthcare providers receive their fair share. We’re grateful to have worked with legislators and the Primary Care Reform Collaborative to put cost containment guardrails in place to curtail rising consumer expenses, encourage carrier expansion, and ensure the effectiveness of every dollar spent.”

With little financial limitations around hospital prices, private insurance plans pay the price – on average 224% more than Medicare plans, according to RAND Corporation.

During the rate filing process, questions also remained about the expiration of American Rescue Plan Act subsidies, which the department lobbied Delaware’s congressional delegation to extend. These subsidies lowered consumer costs significantly and contributed to the state’s largest-ever ACA enrollment, a year-over-year increase of 26.8%. Had these benefits expired, healthy consumers who were influenced to acquire coverage through the enhanced discounts may have left the marketplace, shrinking the risk pool and unbalancing rates. On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, extending subsidies into 2025.

Aside from potential enrollment increases due to the carrier expansion, future participation growth may come from Medicaid unwinding and income eligibility reviews. National efforts are underway to ensure smooth, affordable transitions to Marketplace coverage for those eligible.

Other ACA and ACA-Compliant Rates

Delta Dental will reduce both ACA and non-marketplace rates by an average of 4%, and Dominion Dental will increase ACA premiums by 2.2%. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.’s small group non-marketplace dental plan rates will remain at their current level.

Returning off-market small group plans from Highmark will increase an average 2.4%, Optimum Choice plans will rise by 2.7%, and United Healthcare small group rates will increase by 2.8%. Aetna Health’s small group plans will increase 7.6%, and Aetna Life rates will increase 5.1% after an initial increase request of 8.8% was reduced. Aetna Health’s 9 off-marketplace individual plan rates will remain at their current level.

About ACA Plans

All ACA-compliant health plans offer essential health benefits, including coverage of pre-existing conditions, prescriptions, emergency services and hospitalization, mental and behavioral health coverage, outpatient care and telehealth, lab services, and more.

Open enrollment for 2023 Health Insurance Marketplace plans begins November 1. Residents may qualify to enroll or change plans based on special circumstances, such as income qualification, loss of health coverage, becoming a parent, or other qualifying factors throughout the year. Find out if you qualify for special enrollment.

Commissioner Navarro announces Health Insurance Marketplace expansion

Be aware of non-compliant alternative health plans

Stephen Taylor to Lead Delaware Captive Bureau

The Delaware Department of Insurance today announced that industry veteran Stephen Taylor has joined the department as the incoming Director of its world-renowned Captive Bureau. Taylor will succeed Steve Kinion, who transitions out of the role on September 30.

“Stephen Taylor’s extensive experience as an innovative yet meticulous insurance regulator stood out amongst contract applicants for our Captive Director position, and we are happy to welcome him to the department,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This role is certainly not without its challenges, but Taylor’s adeptness at engaging in both federal and nonfederal policy matters will serve our state well in the years to come.”

Stephen Taylor served as Insurance Commissioner of the District of Columbia from 2015 to 2020. In that role, he instituted a number of innovative insurance regulation reforms and prioritized initiatives that aimed to empower residents and increase economic inclusion. Taylor has held numerous prominent leadership roles in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. He most recently served as Director of Policy and Assistant General Counsel to the Surety and Fidelity Association of America, and has nearly 30 years of insurance regulation, legislative, and legal experience.

“I look forward to working with the Commissioner and the talented Captive team to continue providing a best-in-class captive program for the risk management community and bringing important economic opportunities to the State of Delaware,” said Stephen Taylor.

Captive insurance companies, which are owned by the entities that they insure, are usually formed by businesses that wish to better manage the cost and administration of their insurance coverage. Delaware is the world’s fifth largest and the third largest U.S. captive domicile. It is one of four domiciles in the world recognized by the International Center for Captive Insurance Education as ICCIE Trained. To learn more, visit captive.delaware.gov.

Delaware Captive Bureau to Welcome New Director

Department shares appreciation for Steve Kinion’s years of service

The Delaware Department of Insurance today announced a planned leadership transition following an upcoming departure of long-time Captive Bureau Director Steve Kinion on September 30. The unique form of insurance regulated by this division contributes millions of dollars to the State of Delaware and City of Wilmington each year. As of year-end 2021, the Bureau had 759 total active licenses.

“Despite challenges, we have pursued some of the nation’s most effective captive innovation efforts, like our conditional licensing program, and are set up success in future endeavors as well,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “This transition of leadership will continue our tradition of success, and we wish Steve Kinion the best in his future endeavors.”

While the number of captives nationwide has seen decreases in recent years, Delaware’s long history as a top captive domicile across the globe has continued. Commissioner Navarro and the Bureau created a successful conditional licensing program, improved flexibility in dormancy, and continue to work to generate innovative insurance solutions while reducing taxpayer burden including planning for captive-based corporate Directors & Officers liability coverage.

Accolades for the Bureau during Commissioner Navarro’s years in office include being named a finalist for U.S. Captive Domicile of the Year (2022), a nomination for International Captive Domicile of the Year (2021), finalist for Non-Asian Domicile of the Year (2021), finalist for International Insurance Domicile of the Year (2020), finalist for Non-Asian Domicile of the Year (2019), and nomination for Non-European Union Domicile of the Year (2016).

The Bureau Director position operates via contract, and a recent RFP process resulted in a new awardee. The Department will announce the awardee as soon as a contract is finalized, which the Department hopes will occur in the next few weeks.

Captive insurance companies, which are owned by the entities that they insure, are usually formed by businesses that wish to better manage the cost and administration of their insurance coverage. Delaware is the world’s fifth largest and the third largest U.S. captive domicile. It is one of four domiciles in the world recognized by the International Center for Captive Insurance Education as ICCIE Trained. To learn more, visit captive.delaware.gov.

Commissioner Navarro Announces Health Insurance Marketplace Expansion

Consumers to have most options in history of Delaware Marketplace

After years of work to increase competition on the Delaware Health Insurance Marketplace, Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced today that three health carriers intend to offer plans for the 2023 plan year – the most in the state’s history. AmeriHealth Caritas and Aetna CVS Health will join Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware in offering coverage.

“Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace is more stable than ever before, with rates steadying and enrollment at an all-time high. The hard work we have put into this program is paying off, with multiple new carriers planning to offer 2023 coverage,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “I look forward to the benefits that increased competition will bring to our residents, and to continuing to improve healthcare accessibility and affordability across the state.”

From rising rates to insurer departure, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Delaware hasn’t always been smooth sailing. But with the state’s successful creation of a 1332 reinsurance program and federal threats of ending the critical program subsiding, rates have decreased more than 15% and remained stable, while enrollment has grown significantly.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to both the needs of Delawareans who have increasingly signed up for coverage, and to the strong regulatory environment we have built, which has helped insurers go from taking losses to being able to cover their expenses and consumers’ coverage needs.”

The announcement comes as carriers submit initial rate filings proposals pursuant to federal deadlines. These will undergo in-depth reviews by independent actuaries before the Insurance Commissioner approves and announces them later this year.

Report Finds Gender Disparity in Auto Insurance Premiums, Women Charged More for Same Coverage

Legislative effort to end rating practice announced

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today released Gender Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing, a new report that shows many women are being charged more by auto insurers based solely on their gender. Data shows that many Delaware women pay more per year in premiums, even when all other factors are the same, with several major companies’ differentials around 8-9%. While there are more female drivers on the road, state data shows that men are involved in more accidents. The Commissioner is working with the General Assembly to end the rating practice.

“Today’s report will be eye-opening for many consumers as they see major insurers charging higher premiums based on gender. We’re making progress towards gender equity, but systemic disparities continue to be found in unexpected areas of our lives,” said Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “The good news is that we can fix this – several other states have already removed gender as a pricing factor. It’s time we do the same.”

The report outlines the economic necessity of auto insurance, the heightened financial disadvantage of individuals experiencing cost disparities, and identifies gender’s inadequate correlation to risk. Six states—California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania—have already eliminated the potential for gender-based pricing disparities.

“Despite the concerning data in this report, now is not the time to call your agent and change insurers – now is the time to call your legislator. We must solve this issue for every person, and your advocacy can help make that happen,” explained Commissioner Navarro. “I am grateful that two of our state’s strongest advocates for gender equality, Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Senator Kyle Evans Gay will lead the effort to end this pricing practice through the General Assembly. Their successes in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and leadership in the new Legislative Women’s Caucus, combined with public support, will put us on the path to progress.”

Legislation to remove sex, gender, and gender identity from the personal auto insurance rating process will be filed this week as Senate Bill 231. The bill’s announcement coincides with the beginning of Women’s History Month.

“Having a method of transportation is key to much of our daily lives, whether it’s getting to and from work, or being able to shop for necessities. Residents are required to purchase auto insurance both to drive legally, and to access our economy,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “It’s critical that the system by which consumers’ premiums are set does not create different outcomes based on gender identity, especially when so many people already face persistent systemic and financial disadvantages, including the wage gap. This legislation is a no-brainer, and I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to support it.”

“Most Delawareans would be surprised to learn that gender factors have any bearing on premium pricing, which should be based in data and accident records,” said Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, prime sponsor of the legislation. “I recently worked with advocates on a related issue to allow for gender to be accurately reflected on driver’s licenses. Gender equality is foundational to the laws of our state, and we must enforce it at every opportunity — particularly when it comes to commodities so ubiquitous as driver’s licenses and auto insurance.”

“Many auto insurers are charging women with perfect driving records higher premiums simply because of their gender,” said Douglas Heller, Director of Insurance at CFA. “While most people think auto insurance pricing favors women, our research confirms other recent studies demonstrating that, on average, women pay more. Delaware requires that every driver buy insurance, so lawmakers should act to prohibit the gender surcharge many companies impose on their female customers. ”

CFA acquired data on auto insurance premiums charged by carriers from Quadrant Information Services, LLC, which in part informs the report.

“Pricing for auto insurance should be based on your motor vehicle record and other factors related to your driving, not based on your gender,” agreed Michael DeLong, CFA’s Research and Advocacy Associate. “We commend Commissioner Navarro, Majority Leader Longhurst, and Senator Gay for standing up to the insurance lobby and fighting for what is right.”

View the Gender Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing Report