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HMSA seeks rate hikes for individuals

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The Hawaii Medical Service Association is seeking to raise rates by more than 20 percent for roughly 380 individuals.

The state’s largest health plan filed rate hikes of 21.9 percent for the preferred provider plan and 25.4 percent for its health maintenance organization product, known as Health Plan Hawaii.

“The cost has just been way more than we anticipated so we have to get back to breaking even,” said HMSA spokeswoman Laura Lott. “In hindsight, it was a good value for people during the first couple years of the plan. Now we have to have a price catch up with what actually is being delivered in terms of services and care.” 

HMSA raised rates last year by 8.5 percent for the preferred provider plan for sole proprietors and 7 percent for the HMO option. 

The state Insurance Division is reviewing the latest rate proposals and expects to make a decision within a month, according to J.P. Schmidt, state insurance commissioner.

“Obviously those are very high increases,” he said. “We have a very small number of individual policies out there, and that’s one of the problems because you don’t have a big pool to spread the risk over.”

Last year, the state mandated that health insurers allow self employed individuals or sole proprietors to get health insurance as a pool with the intention of spreading the risk and lowering rates.



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