Louisiana

Louisiana health insurance marketplace: history and
news of the state’s exchange

BCBS of Louisiana and Bright Health offering plans for 2018; cost of CSR added to silver premiums,making other
metal levels particularly affordable

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Louise Norris
Individual health insurance and health reform authority; broker
March 22, 2018

More Louisiana coverage

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    Insurance Guide
    • A guide to health insurance in
      your state.
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    Medicaid
    • Your state’s Medicaid expansion,
      eligibilty, contacts
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    Medicare
    • Insurance for those over 64
      (off-site)

Highlights and updates

  • 2018 enrollment down 4.6% from 2017
  • One insurer in 2017, but Bright Health joined in 2018
  • Average rate increase 15.6%, including added premiums to cover CSR cost
  • Cost of CSR added to silver exchange, other metal levels particularly cheap for some
  • 2018 rates and new insurer indicate death spiral no longer a danger

Louisiana exchange overview

In June of 2016, Louisiana was one of the states that opted to expand its Medicaid program. In the past, Louisiana had low public health rankings but after the Medicaid expansion so many Louisiana residents enrolled that extra workers were needed to process applications. The uninsured rate in Louisiana dropped from 16.6% in 2013 to 10.3% in 2016 when the national average was 8.6%. The Affordable Health Care Act helped make coverage more affordable. 90% of Medicaid enrollees were receiving subsidies.

As of December of 2017, there were 456,004 Louisiana residents enrolled in the expanded Medicaid. Additionally, the state’s monthly Medicaid enrollment increased by 42%.

Louisiana Health Ratings

Louisiana ranked 49th in the 2017 Scorecard on State Health Systems Performance by the Commonwealth Fund. The state ranked in the fourth quintile for all five categories: Prevention and Treatment, Avoidable Hospital Use and Costs, Healthy Lives, Access, and Equity. Louisiana ranked highest in disparity in health status by education level where they ranked 4th.

Health Plan Rates

In 2017, Humana is exiting the individual market but three carriers will continue to offer exchange plans for the 2018 year: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, HMO Louisiana, and Vantage Health Plan. Blue Cross Blue Shield had a 35.45% rate increase, HMO Louisiana had a 14.9% rate increase, and Vantage Health Plan had a 28.5% rate increase.

In the 2016, open enrollment, 214,148 Louisiana residents enrolled which is double than what it was in 2014. Of those enrollees, 93% had premium subsidies. As for 2018, enrollment continues to decline with only 109,855 residents enrolled. Nationwide, Louisiana is the lowest in the country.

 

Risk pool in Louisiana

In 1992, the Louisiana Health Plan was created to give residents who were unable to get private plans in the individual market due to their medical histories. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, high risk pools in the state of Louisiana are not longer an issue. The Louisiana Health Plan was terminated in 2014 and members were able to switch over to Affordable Care Act compliant plans.

Medicare in Louisiana

In 2015, about 17% of Louisiana’s population enrolled in Medicare—that equates to 798,159 residents. Louisiana Medicare spends about $10,754 per enrollee each year. Residents can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, which 30% of enrollees do.

 

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.