MASSACHUSETTS — Health insurance premiums for Massachusetts residents will rise by an average of 7.9 percent next year, even as insurance companies profited from people staying away from hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Kevin Beagan, the deputy commissioner of the state Division of Insurance, said during Tuesday’s Health Policy Commission meeting the increases will vary between insurers and plans. You can watch the meeting in the video above.
Insurers for 462,680 people will see a significant increase. Only two insurers, with a combined 463 members, will see a decrease.
The 189,761 on Tufts Health Public Plans will see the highest increase at 12.2 percent, something Beagan said the Division of Insurance was “definitely not happy with.” Other Tufts health plans will go up at least 7 percent.
Commonwealth Magazine was the first to report on the premium increases.
|Insurer||Renewing members||Percent change|
|BCBS HMO Blue||80,108||5.4|
|Fallon Ins Co||28||4.5|
|HPHC Ins Co||363||-0.1|
|Tufts Health Public Plans||189,761||12.2|
|Tufts Ins Co||1,368||7|
Insurers saw an increase in profits as many health providers were closed to non-urgent procedures during the pandemic. The premium increases are being attributed to things like a rush on procedures that were delayed and a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
About 10,000 people in Massachusetts have lost health insurance from April to July, something Bergen said was “very little difference in membership where we expected major changes.” He said the small change was in part due to the division’s push for insurers to be more flexible during the pandemic.
Health Policy Commission member Rick Lord said there may be a larger decline in employer-sponsored insurance as the state’s unemployment rate sits at 16.1 percent.
“We continue to worry about the economy and how long this can continue,” Beagan said. “We are hopeful that this will continue as long as needed, but we know there’s a lot of small employers that are struggling, and it’s necessary to have the safety nets of Medicare and Medicaid and even the Connector coverage for people to jump into.”