Home AllNewRateRequests AllRecentDecisions Rates Q&A SampleRate
Public Comments
Read comments submitted on this filing.
 
  
CareFirst (BlueChoice)
Good morning - I currently pay 506.00 a month for my individual insurance plan with Blue Cross. My deductible is 5500.00. I do not go for all the check ups I should because I just cannot afford them. Please ask Mr. Redmer and his committee to keep people like me in mind when he makes the decision on allowing rate increases. I am not part of the Affordable Care Act. Thank you for your time in this matter.
    Submitted By: Mary Kistler    Location: Potomac MD    Date: 5/16/2016

Dear Governor Hogan: Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer is now considering CareFirst twelve percent rate increase request in the individual health insurance pool. I pray that you will do what you can to turn this request down and make a strong statement that the increasing costs of health insurance cannot continue to be shifted to the families in the individual market. I own and operate a small business and have two small children. We cannot continue to take these costs on. I met with an owner of a local store here in Towson over the weekend and his premiums and high deductible are crushing him too. We have been forced into a very high deductible plans and are reaching a breaking point.
    Submitted By: Christopher Jakubiak    Location: Towson MD    Date: 5/25/2016

My family, like many middle class families who make just enough not to qualify for subsidies, is paying increasingly unaffordable premiums. Insuring two members of my family now costs more than a thousand a month. What gets me is that despite the rising costs, actual coverage each year declines in scope and quality. Every year I log into your site in June with my heart in my mouth, knowing I am going to get shafted even harder than the previous year by the insurance companies. Care First gets rid of whichever plan we had and forces us into a new plan, which costs significantly more while offering far less coverage. I see this same trend continuing in their offerings for next year. These big insurance providers have the economic clout to hire top drawer representation to advocate for major annual premium increases coupled with reductions in actual coverage. Who, in fact, represents individual Maryland residents in this annual sham exercise. It sure looks like David v Goliath, only David is lacking even a slingshot.I see massive advertising by these same providers and ask myself how much of my premium goes to PR and image cultivation. Let them stop sponsoring community feel good exercises and put that money back into offering my family lower premiums. Does the annual review of requested rate increases include due diligence in examining provider expenses, not least, their executive suite pay and perks.They whine to you about increased costs and get massive premium increases, then turn around and deny coverage for legitimate medical needs on any flimsy pretext. My son needed a brace for scoliosis, but they covered only ten percent of the cost despite our having a top tier plan. I believe this state needs a special commission appointed by the governor to examine the actual operations of the health insurance providers in Maryland. I feel certain the findings will include systematic defrauding of the powerless subscriber. Thank you.
    Submitted By: Nan W    Location: Silver Spring MD    Date: 6/17/2016

To those of you that commented above, thank you. You are not alone. Just so this is not a completely wasted post, let me say that if the 2017 rates are approved, the premiums alone for the cheapest ACA plan -- 13,912 dollars annually for my family of three -- will be nearly triple those of our pre-ACA plan. Moreover, this is for coverage that is substantially inferior -- e.g., an annual ACA out-of-pocket maximum of 27,000 dollars versus 10,000 dollars pre-ACA. Most perversely, these premiums would reflect a 40 percent rate increase for a plan with a current payout ratio of less than 60 percent. The plan merits a 40 percent rate decrease. The 2017 ACA premiums alone would represent 17.3 percent of annual gross income for an identical family of three making four times the 2016 Federal Poverty Level -- maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses a full 34 percent of that same income. This is serious stuff and someone needs to draw the line. ---------- That said, I have a much more extensive set of comments that I will submit via mail. I spent several hours condensing the comments to 4000 characters to post something with meat on it here -- only to find that my post was blocked because it contained special characters. Of course, if you use an offline editor to formulate comments, this is only discovered when one pastes the text and hits the submit button. After considerable frustration trying to replace all the special characters, which by trial and error I have determined include carriage returns, parenthesis, percent signs, dollar signs, apostrophes, exclamation points, plus signs, brackets, semi colons and who knows how many other characters useful in a technical response, my 4000 character bare bones post had ballooned well beyond the point of salvage and my frustration level with it. Thus I throw up my hands and will settle for this much abbreviated and much less useful post. Who would think that a response to a technical economic issue would not allow percent and dollar signs? The post I submitted last year certainly allowed them. ---------- Finally, in case the other commenters do not know it, there is a hearing on this request on July 6th at 10 am at the MIA offices at 200 St. Paul Place in Baltimore. Why the MIA does not post that info here where commenters would see it is another mystery. I plan to attend and recommend that you do the same if possible. It is probably fruitless, but it is a chance to ensure that someone will actually have to at least pretend to listen.
    Submitted By: Dan Meszler    Location: Abingdon MD    Date: 6/26/2016

Please see the attached letter from Meszler Engineering Services.
    Submitted By: Dan Meszler    Location: Abingdon MD    Date: 6/27/2016

Please see the attached letter from the Maryland Hospital Association
        Location: Elkridge MD    Date: 6/27/2016

Please see the attached letter from State of Maryland Office of the Attorney General.
        Location: Baltimore MD    Date: 6/30/2016

Please see the attached letters from Consumer Health First and Beth Sammis and Jay Angoff
        Location: Baltimore MD    Date: 6/30/2016

See the attached comment from Seth Berlin
    Submitted By: Seth Berlin    Location: Washington DC    Date: 7/12/2016

The CareFirst rate hikes seem shockingly excessive, especially in comparison to what other companies are requesting. I hope the commission ensures that the rate hike is not merely designed to further increase CareFirsts surplus or cushion the company from the rate hike freeze in DC. Rates already went up last year and many of us have been forced into high-deductible plans.
        Location: Baltimore MD    Date: 8/12/2016

HOPE HOUSE TREATMENT CENTERS IS THE 2ND LARGEST PRIVATE FOR NON PROFIT INPATIENT TREATMENT ORGANIZATION IN MARYLAND FOR DRUG/ALCOHOL & MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES. OUR SECOND HIGHEST EXPENDITURE IS HEALTHCARE FOR OUR STAFF. WITH THE PROPOSED INCREASES WE MAY HAVE TO CLOSE OUR FACILITY THAT SAVES THE LIVES OF 1,200 PATIENTS PER YEAR WITH HEROIN ADDICTION, MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND OTHER DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADDICTIONS. WE ARE SLOWLY BUT SURELY BEING SQUEEZED OUT OF THE MARKET TO TREAT THE HEROIN EPIDEMIC THAT IS RAVAGING OUR COUNTRY.
    Submitted By: Peter D'Souza    Location: Crownsville MD    Date: 8/12/2016

Please see attached letter from Mrs. Green
    Submitted By: Cristina Green    Location: Ellicott City MD    Date: 8/12/2016

I have been purchasing private medical insurance for myself and my wife since I retired in 2005. Neither of us are of an age that we qualify for Medicare nor was I am employee of any company that offered retiree medical benefits. As a result, I have been in this system for over 10 years, so far all of it with products from CareFirst. Since ACA, CareFirst has been playing the game all insurance companies have been playing claiming that the potential influx of the previously uninsured will present a tremendous financial burden for those companies offering cover due to their pre-existing conditions. MD has been ever so compliant in honoring CareFirst requests for additional premium rate hikes to cover these previously uninsured. I am now at a point that in order to make my budget work, I am purchasing the lowest level plan with the highest deductible this company offers which is little more than major medical or catastrophic coverage. A second rate increase request this year is unconscionable, particularly in light of the fact that it took until June 2016 for CareFirst to analyze 2015 data. Mr. Redmer and company should not allow this company to continue to put their hand out asking for additional premium increases without factual data showing the need. Additionally, the board needs to examine CareFirst record of cost containment. Yes, we can allow this company to fail when they continue to run it as a total for profit organization while at the same time paying unconscionable salary increases for senior management.
    Submitted By: Robert Hood    Location: Fallston MD    Date: 8/13/2016

Please see comments from Dan Meszler
    Submitted By: Dan Meszler    Location: Abingdon MD    Date: 8/15/2016

Please see comments from Office of the Attorney General
    Submitted By: Patricia O'Connor    Location: Baltimore MD    Date: 8/15/2016

Please see the attached letter from Jay Angoff
    Submitted By: Jay Angoff    Location: Washington DC    Date: 8/16/2016

See comments from Consumer Health First.
    Submitted By: Jeananne Sciabarra    Location: Baltimore MD    Date: 8/17/2016

Please see the attached presentation from Carefirst from the August 15th Rate Review Hearing
        Location: Owings Mills MD    Date: 8/17/2016

(Individual and Multi-State Individual)
(Maryland Small Group and Multi-State Small Group)

 
Contact Us | Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved
Maryland Insurance Administration • 200 St. Paul Place • Suite 2700 • Baltimore, MD 21202  
410-468-2000 • 1-800-492-6116 (toll free) • 1-800-735-2258 (TTY)