State approves lower overall rates and expanded area for one Obamacare insurer, lowers rate-hike request of the other one

Insurance Department maps, adapted by Kentucky Health News; click on either for a larger version.

Federally subsidized health insurance in Kentucky next year will cost more or less than this year, depending on the insurer and the type of plan. And many consumers will have more choices.

Policies offered on the federal insurance exchange by Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky will go up an average of 9.7 percent, which 2.3 percentage points less than the 12 percent Anthem asked of the state Department of Insurance.

The department approved proposals by CareSource Kentucky Co. that will be 4.5 percent less than this year, on average. CareSource will serve an expanded area, covering 83 counties. That means 56 of the state’s 120 counties will have more than one insurer to choose from on the exchange.

“The actual rates charged will vary based on individual plan selection and factors,” the Insurance Department noted in a news release. Detailed rate filings are at

“The department has reviewed some rate decreases for individual health insurance plans,” Insurance Commissioner Nancy G. Atkins said. “For the first time in years, Kentuckians purchasing health insurance on the exchange could see rate decreases.”

CareSource will offer 12 individual plans on the federal exchange, which must be used to get the tax credits for premiums. “These plans vary in levels from catastrophic to gold, and include nine different silver and bronze options,” the release said. Silver and bronze plans are in the middle range for premiums and deductibles under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Anthem will offer 13 individual plans on the Exchange, under different network and service area options. “The Anthem Pathway HMO service area includes seven approved plans. These plans, with a broad provider network, will be offered in 77 counties,” the release said. “The second option is the narrower Anthem Pathway Transition HMO, and includes six different plans available in 17 counties.” The areas overlap only in Hardin County.

Open enrollment for individual plans opens Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. The Insurance Department says that before enrollment opens, consumers should work with an agent, do their own research or contact the department to understand their options. “It is critical to review the details for each plan to minimize the potential for surprises later on,” Adkins said, “and ensure individuals purchase the plan that best suits their individual needs.”

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