GMCB Approves Health Insurance Rate Increases of 11.7% for Blue Cross and 18.3% for MVP

Vermont Business Journal The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) issued rulings Thursday requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc to reduce the premiums they want to charge individuals and small businesses for health plans in 2023. BCBSVT requested a 15.4% increase and 11.7% in the small group (business) plan; MVP asked for a 23.4% raise and got 18.3%. The rate increase for individuals is similar (see below). Despite the cuts, rates are still the highest approved since August 2019.

Approximately 72,000 Vermonters were enrolled in these plans as of March 2022.

The large rate increases proposed by MVP and BCBSVT this year are due to several factors, including rising costs for specialty pharmaceuticals and higher costs paid to health care providers to provide services, which in turn are due to the inflationary and labor pressures facing many sectors of the economy.

After a thorough review, the Board, acting within its statutory authority and balancing a number of statutory factors, reduced the proposed BCBSVT and MVP rates by the amounts reflected in the following tables:

Small group – Average annual increase over 2022

Insurer

Rate Request (PMPM)**

Board Approved (PMPM)**

BCBSVT

15.4% ($94 PMPM)

11.7%* ($71 PMPM)

MVP

23.4% ($135 PMPM)

18.3%* ($106 PMPM)

Individual and family – average annual increase over 2022

Insurer

Rate Request (PMPM)**

Board Approved (PMPM)**

BCBSVT

14.9% ($104 PMPM)

11.4%* ($79 PMPM)

MVP

24.4% ($164 PMPM)

19.3%* ($130 PMPM)

*These percentage increases represent averages for different benefit plans with different levels of cost sharing. For a small group, approved plan-level increases ranged from 9.1% to 15.3% for BCBSVT and 10.5% to 21.5% for MVP. For individual and family plans, approved plan-level increases range from 8.8% to 15.3% for BCBSVT and 11.3% to 26.3% for MVP.

**Per Member Per Month (PMPM) is the dollar amount a member pays each month for a health plan.

Health care subsidies and additional resources

  • Approximately 5,500 Vermonters can still save money in 2022 on their monthly premium by enrolling through Vermont Health Connect (VHC). To find out if you qualify for a subsidy, use the VHC plan comparison tool.
  • Vermont residents can use the plan comparison tool starting October 14, 2022 to compare plans for 2023. Open enrollment for 2023 plans begins November 1, 2022.
  • As of August 4, 2022, it remains uncertain whether Congress will renew for 2023 the extended premium tax credits originally provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Information about ARPA and how it affects you and your eligibility for premium assistance is available here.
  • For questions about your health insurance or access to health care, please contact the Vermont Health Care Attorney’s Legal Assistance Office at 1-800-917-7787.

Last year’s documents reviewed by the Board were significantly affected by the 2022 “unbundling” of the individual and small group health insurance markets, which was done to take advantage of the increased subsidies available to individuals under ARPA. Market decoupling led to a decrease in small group premiums (BCBSVT -6.2%; MVP 0.8%) and an increase in individual premiums (BCBSVT 4.7%; MVP 12.7%) compared to what would otherwise would be, with increased subsidies offsetting increased premiums in the individual market.

4/8/2022 Montpelier, VA – Green Mountain Care Board