Utah

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

BCBS of Utah 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 Utah 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

Utah exchange overview

Utah is among the states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In 2018, the state will submit waiver proposal to CSM, requesting to expand Medicaid but only to residents earning up to 100% of the poverty level as opposed to 138%. However, the CMS rejected a similar proposal in Arkansas.

Rates and Carriers

For 2018, there were 194,118 residents who bought individual market plans through the Utah open exchange. There are two carries for the 2018 exchange: SelectHeath (HMO) which had a 44% rate increase and University of Utah Health Plans (PPO) which had a 30.8% rate increase. Open enrollment ended on December 15th but is available all year round to Native Americans and those eligible for Medicaid. If Medicaid were to expand coverage, it is estimated that 126,000 Utah residents would be newly eligible.

Health Ratings

Utah ranked 15th place by the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. They ranked #1 for having lower than average rate of overweight children, adults who have lost six or more teeth and adults who smoke. Utah has the third lowest incidence of colorectal cancer as well. They also ranked highly in Avoidable Hospital Use and Costs as well as Health Lives. They ranked low in Access and Prevention and Treatment. The state’s percentage of uninsured children and adults were above average.

 

Risks in Utah

The Utah Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool was created to give those who couldn’t get private health insurance another option. After the Affordable Care Act was enacted the need for high risk pools were eliminated. The Utah Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool ended coverage on December 31, 2013.

Medicare in Utah

In 2015, Medicare enrollment reached 345,340 which are 12% of the state’s population. 85% of Utah’s Medicare qualifies on age alone and 15% are the result of a disability. Medicare spends about $8,016 per beneficiary each year. In 2017, 36% of Medicare enrollees opted for a Medicare Advantage plan.

 

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.