Vermont’s worried about low rates

By BenefitsPro

By Allison Bell

A regulator at the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation is worried health insurance exchange rates are too low.

Susan Donegan, the department's commissioner, mentions the risk of unsafely low rates in reviews of the exchange plan rate applications filed by BlueCross Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Health Plan Inc.

Both carriers want to sell "qualified health plans" through the Vermont Health Connect exchange.

The Green Mountain Care Board, the agency in charge of QHP rates, ended up approving rate filings that cut final 2014 rates 4.3 percent for Vermont Blue and 5.3 percent for MVP.

But, in a review of the rate filings, Donegan looked at errors that could have led to lower rates as well as higher ones.

In each review, she included a section that discussed possible effects of the QHP rate filings on the insurer's financial stability.

Vermont is responsible for overseeing the solvency of Vermont Blue, but not for MVP, which is based in New York state, Donegan said.

Vermont Blue had $134 million in surplus on March 31, and Vermont insurance company examiners don’t believe the company's proposed QHP rate would affect their assessment of the company's risk of insolvency, Donegan said.

Vermont business accounts for only 5 percent of MVP's business, and Vermont insurance company examiners believe the company has adequate surplus, Donegan said.

The examiners believe MVP's QHP rate would have no effect on their assessment of MVP's risk of insolvency, Donegan said.

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