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DC regulator approves health plan rates for '17

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Bankingapproved health insurance plan rates for DC Health Link, the district's healthinsurance marketplace, for plan year 2017.

AetnaInc., CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Kaiser Permanente andUnitedHealth GroupInc.'s UnitedHealthcare proposed rates for 171 plans, up from 162in 2015. Small group plans rose to 151 from 136, and individual plans declinedto 20 from 26.

The average increase in 2017 premiums across all insurers is7.27% for individuals and 0.36% for small group plans.

For individual plans, the department approved rate increasesfor CareFirst HMO (CareFirst BlueChoice) at 22.80%, Kaiser Permanente HMO at12.00% and CareFirst PPO (GHMSI) at 1.80%.

The increase in premiums at CareFirst HMO is due to pricingchanges, higher medical costs and the elimination of low-premium health savingsaccount insurance plans.

For small group plans, the department approved rateincreases of 9.10% for Aetna HMO and 7.00% for United Healthcare HMO (UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic). Small group plan rate increaseswere also approved for CareFirst HMO (CareFirst BlueChoice) at 3.30%, Aetna PPOat 3.10% and Kaiser Permanente HMO at 2.00%.

The department lowered small group plan rates for UnitedHealthcare PPO and United Healthcare HMO (Optimum Choice Inc.) by 1.80%. Italso lowered the rates for CareFirst PPO (GHMSI) by 2.20%.

Open enrollment on the exchange starts Nov. 1 and runsthrough Jan. 31, 2017.