With the state’s new reinsurance program in place and premiums declining for the first time since Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace opened for enrollment in 2013, Delawareans are urged to take another look at marketplace plans during open enrollment for 2020 coverage, which started Nov. 1.
The 19 percent drop in rates is especially significant for Delawareans who are not eligible for financial assistance on the marketplace.
The seventh open enrollment period, in which people can renew coverage or sign up for a new plan for 2020, runs through Sunday, Dec. 15, at www.HealthCare.gov. Coverage for enrollees who sign up by Dec. 15 and pay their first month’s premium will be effective Jan. 1.
“The reduction in rates for 2020 offers an important incentive to compare and shop for plans on our marketplace, especially for Delawareans who own small businesses, are independent contractors or don’t have access to health insurance through an employer,” said Gov. John Carney.
Under Delaware’s reinsurance program, a portion of high-cost healthcare claims that drive up insurance rates for everyone will be reimbursed through a $27 million fund, using a mix of federal funding and assessments collected by the Delaware Department of Insurance from health insurance carriers. The Delaware Health Care Commission will administer the program.
In October, Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro announced that he had approved an average rate decrease of 19 percent for the sole insurer on Delaware’s Marketplace – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware. Enrollees will choose one of eight Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware plans that are available for purchase in 2020, or they will be automatically re-enrolled in a plan similar to their current one.
Last year, about 22,560 people enrolled for coverage through Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace, including about 78 percent who re-enrolled for 2019 and 22 percent who were new enrollees.
Federal tax credits are available for those whose household income is between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. For 2020, that’s between $17,236 and $49,960 for an individual, or between $35,536 and $103,000 for a family of four. For coverage in 2019, about 85 percent of enrollees in Delaware were eligible for tax credits, which help reduce the cost of the monthly premium.
“When premiums decline in the individual market – both on and off the marketplace – that often helps to reduce health insurance costs for everyone,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Department of Health and Social Services secretary. “With premiums down 19 percent for the 2020 marketplace plans in Delaware, I urge everyone to shop for coverage on Delaware’s marketplace or to talk with their insurance agent or broker. For those who already have coverage, I encourage them to go back to HealthCare.gov or to their agent, update their information and compare plans to make sure they have the best coverage to meet their healthcare needs and their budget.”
Consumers can go to HealthCare.gov or CuidadodeSalud.gov now to check out their options for 2020, and can enroll at any time through Dec. 15.
Sussex Countians who need help enrolling in coverage will have access to free in-person assistance from certified applications counselors at La Red Health Center in Georgetown. State-licensed insurance agents and brokers are also available to help individuals re-enroll and to help employers update their coverage at no extra charge.