Could the Blue Cross rate hike denial mean fewer insurers in the NM Exchange?

Recently, Blue Cross applied for and failed to receive an eye-popping 51.6% increase in insurance premiums. This denial was a clear win for consumers against the greedy insurance industry, right? Well, not so fast says David Hogberg of the National Center for Public Policy Research in a new blog posting.

Hogberg notes that Blue Cross applied for the massive increase because its plans were attracting sicker customers than the other insurers in the exchange. He also noted that Blue Cross has stated that the decision may cause them to leave New Mexico exchange.

That may seem like a minor problem, but that sick group will then be pushed to other, healthier plans that will then see their premiums skyrocket.

In other words, unless Blue Cross, which operates as a non-profit, was simply over-reaching, this rate increase is a sign that ObamaCare is eventually going to result in dramatic rate increases here in New Mexico. Regulatory denials may cause attrition among providers in New Mexico’s health insurance market but those massive rate hikes are inevitable.

As the following chart illustrates, New Mexicans saw particularly-rapid rate hikes in 2014.