Something unprecedented may be unfolding in Florida's individual health-insurance market: None of the nine companies that have filed their 2015 rate requests so far wants an increase.The price cuts Molina and Sunshine are requesting are actually pretty significant, and average of 11.6 percent for Molina and 7.9 percent for Sunshine. There are still four days before the filings are finalized and official, so something could change between now and then, but it doesn't seem likely at this point. That means that not only will the people getting insurance through the exchange in Florida not get dinged with higher premiums next year, but neither will the federal government which is paying subsidies for the vast majority—91 percent—of those consumers.
In fact, two of the companies—Molina Healthcare of Florida and Sunshine Health—actually requested a price cut.
"The fact is, an overall pattern of insurers not seeking rate increases—and even seeking rate decreases—is unheard of," said Greg Mellowe, policy director for the consumer advocacy group Florida CHAIN.
So far, we've seen a lot of insurers applying to be on state exchanges and modest rate increases in most states. Not breaking people's bank accounts. Not ballooning the federal deficit. Let's see how long the Republicans' rate hike scare campaign continues.
Some of the insurers listed "zero" instead of their real intentions in order to keep them out of the public domain, OIR's spokesman Harvey Bennett said. It is legal for them to do that under a "trade secrets" statute, he said.
The companies provided the actual rate requests to OIR, but the agency will not make them public for several weeks, Bennett said. OIR will prepare a report later in the summer.
"We do have some decreases (in premium rates) but we also have some increases," he said.