WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) is very concerned about the rate hikes the Illinois Department of Insurance announced Wednesday.
"Families living in Illinois and getting insurance through the federal exchange will be shocked by what they will pay out of pocket next year after already enduring the liquidation of the Land of Lincoln co-op and Aetna’s announcement that it was leaving the state market," a release from the Congressman's office said.
Hultgren is calling for Congress to take immediate action on a bill he has proposed that would provide relief to families and individuals in the federal health care exchange.
The DOI's findings show that
- Three of the seven counties in the 14th Congressional District will be left with one issuer, leaving residents of McHenry, Lake and Kendall Counties with a true insurance monopoly made up of only Blue Cross Blue Shield plans operated by the Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC). The reality of this monopoly will be felt hardest by the individuals with HCSC exchange plans that have proposed rate increases of up to 77.3 percent.
- The liquidation of the Land of Lincoln co-op will mean that individuals in McHenry and Lake Counties looking to keep a bronze plan on the individual exchange will be paying 47 percent more for a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan and likely an entirely different provider network next year. The same bronze plan consumers in DeKalb County will be paying 51 percent more in 2017.
- People in Illinois who purchased the second least expensive silver plan, the plan on which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bases its subsidy payments, will see an average premium increase of 30 percent. In DeKalb county, individuals will pay 59 percent more in 2017.
- The entire 14th Congressional District will see a 40 to 60 percent increase in gold plans on the individual exchange, and several counties in across the state will no longer have any access to gold plans.
“It’s difficult to overestimate the damage this will do to Illinoisans already struggling to afford health insurance. This news demonstrates a critical failure in the law which no longer provides the affordable health care or access it promised," Hultgren said.
Hultgren said the people of his district are now witnessing the monopolization of health insurance—a devastating reality for many of my constituents who have no choice but to pay exorbitant premiums, drug costs and copays for coverage chosen for them by a failed law and a broken market.
"It’s clear now that there is no ceiling on premium costs and deductibles under the ACA,” said Rep. Hultgren in a statement. “We are now past the tipping point—both sides of the aisle must put politics aside and come together immediately to fix this law’s clear, fundamental problems.”
Illinois small businesses, families and seniors across the state already faced an average 20 percent increase in monthly premiums last year, and saw a significant consolidation of its already limited health insurance market. Individuals insured by Land of Lincoln will have to start over on a deductible this year, and will likely pay more for a much smaller or different network in 2017.
“Since I took office in 2011, I have been committed to finding more affordable free market alternatives to the ACA. That’s why I continue to push my bill, the State Health Care Options Act (H.R. 3352), which would give states like Illinois immediate and real access to the ACA’s existing innovation waiver, granting them an immediate parachute off the daunting cost increases, smaller plan networks and an increasingly limited state exchange market.”
State Options would allow states to opt out of ACA exchange and/or essential health benefit requirements, allowing residents to purchase a plan off an exchange and giving states back flexibility to offer less expensive, more basic plans that better serve particular needs.
The bill would also increase transparency in the health insurance market and raise the ACA’s affordability benchmark to make sure Americans can pick and keep the kind of plan and network they were promised.