Virginia health insurance providers file for rate hikes in 2019

healthcareHealth insurance providers in Virginia filed their first set of 2019 rates for the ACA individual market with the state’s Bureau of Insurance on May 4, 2018. While rates are on the rise across the majority of the commonwealth, Optima Health has indicated a reduction of around 30% for 2019 in the Charlottesville area. That is a 30% reduction from last year’s rates which rose 200%, still making Charlottesville one of the most expensive areas in the country to buy coverage.

Charlottesville and surrounding counties (Albemarle, Green, Fluvanna) have the most expensive health care premiums in the nation in 2018, 23% higher than the next most expensive market. Rates more than tripled for consumers buying coverage on the ACA Individual Exchange, making comprehensive insurance unaffordable for people who do not qualify for subsidy assistance. A typical family of four is being charged $3000 per month for high deductible plans.

Karl Quist, a local resident and organizer in the activist group Charlottesville For Reasonable Health Insurance (CRHI) says “Despite the potential reduction, Charlottesville would still be in the 90th percentile of premiums nationwide in 2019 with rates double what they were in 2017. This is not affordable for most families and represents a serious risk to Charlottesville’s appeal to entrepreneurs, independent contractors and artists who are a key part of our community.”

The results of a recent Bureau of Insurance inquiry into Optima’s 2018 filings confirmed that high area hospital rates were the predominant factor in Charlottesville’s highest-in-the-nation premiums. Optima has cited UVA’s rates as justification for their rate hikes.  Data from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association demonstrate that UVA Health System’s costs are more than twice as high as those charged by other local providers.

About Charlottesville For Reasonable Health Insurance

Charlottesville For Reasonable Health Insurance is a grassroots healthcare consumer advocacy group formed in response to the tripling of premium prices in 2018. CRHI is currently disputing the Charlottesville rates in the Individual Market, and lobbies federal and state representatives for laws that provide everyone with comprehensive and affordable health insurance. The group can be found on Facebook.

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