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State regulators have begun to make their decisions on 2016 rates for individual insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In most places, rate increases are at least 10% — and some are as high as 49%.

The dramatic premium increases are the direct result of higher-than-expected medical costs associated with serving ACA customers. In state after state, insurers are pointing to the cost of new ACA members who might not have had coverage previously and are seeking a lot of expensive medical care.

North Carolina is no exception: Our new ACA customers have been using their health benefits more than expected for expensive medical services. In August, BCBSNC revised its filing in August to seek an average premium increase of 34.6% for 2016 (for individuals under the age of 65 with an ACA plan). Our initial filing in May was for a 25.7% increase. (Edit: Final ACA rates for BCBSNC approved by NCDOI for 2016: 32.5%)

Customers under the age of 65 with individual plans can expect to receive their renewal notices, including 2016 rates, by the end of October. The ACA’s Annual Enrollment Period begins Nov. 1.

As enrollment for 2016 coverage draws near, these are the ACA rate increases and decisions announced by state regulators in September and October, starting with the most recent:

Minnesota: Increases between 14% and 49% among five insurers. (Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Delaware: Increases between 16.8% and 22.4% among three insurers. (Source: Delaware Department of Insurance)

Montana: Increases between 18% and 40% among three insurers. (Source: KRTV.com)

Connecticut: Increases between 1.1% and 8.5% among three insurers. (Source: The Connecticut Mirror)

Maryland: Increase of 24% for one insurer. (Source: Baltimore Business Journal)

[Top image: Shutterstock]

About Kyle Marshall

Kyle Marshall, a senior communications specialist at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, writes about the health care industry and provides communications counsel and support to the company's executive team.