Montana health insurance companies are proposing small overall average rate increases for individual market Obamacare plans in 2021, and Montana’s Commissioner of Insurance Matt Rosendale is pushing back.

First though, the good news.

“The good news is that the reinsurance program that we were able to get passed through the legislature in 2019 and implemented, is still working,” said Rosendale. “They are actually showing an eight to ten percent reduction in what the rate would have been this year.”

Rosendale said all three of the marketplace insurers have asked for premium increases for 2021.

“2.3 percent, 3.3 percent and a five percent increase from Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Montana Health Co-op and Pacific Source respectively,” he said. “I will tell you that I’ve already notified each of the companies individually and sat down with them personally and told them that I’m having my actuaries go through their numbers with a fine tooth comb and that I think it’s unacceptable for them to submit any increases.”

Rosendale said the last thing Montanans who have been laid off or had their hours reduced during the pandemic need, is a health insurance increase.

“At a time when insurance companies are seeing profit increases in the Obamacare marketplace, and when we’re seeing such an under-utilization of elective healthcare from the COVID 19 pandemic that hospitals have had to furlough hundreds of employees, these insurers can do better.”

Public comments can be emailed to CSIPublicComment@mt.gov through August 1, 2020. 2021 health insurance rates will be finalized later this summer once the rate review process is completed.