The Delaware Department of Insurance has received a proposed rate increase request from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware for 33.6 percent for its 2018 individual Marketplace business.

This requested rate increase presumes that the cost-sharing subsidies and individual mandate will not be in place for 2018. Highmark BCBSD’s proposed rate will be vetted by the DOI and its independent actuaries before a final rate is determined.

In May, Aetna Inc. announced its plans to withdraw from the Affordable Care Act’s Insurance Marketplace effective Jan. 1, 2018. This leaves Highmark BCBSD as the only health insurer to have filed products and rates for Delaware’s 2018 ACA market.

“Highmark’s proposed rate increase reflects the fact that the Federal Government could cut funding for the ACA by discontinuing cost-sharing reduction subsidies,” said Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “Cost-sharing reduction subsidies are passed on to insurers to assist lower income individuals and families. In addition, it is unclear whether the ACA individual mandate will be enforced next year. If the Federal Government fails to live up to its obligations under the law, insurers will likely continue to exit the Marketplace.”

About 27,000 Delawareans have health insurance through the Marketplace and will be affected by increasing rates and/or insurer withdrawals. The proposed rate increase will not apply to Delawareans on Medicaid or those with group or individual policies outside of the Marketplace.

“Without competition from other companies and with the Affordable Care Act’s fate left up to members of the federal government who appear to oppose it, we are in a difficult position. My job is to pursue premium fairness and increased competition. I will continue to work with Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester’s offices to fight for the best interests of the people of Delaware,” said Navarro.