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UnitedHealthcare Lowers Rates for the District of Columbia’s Health-Insurance Exchange - A Sign Competition Is Already Cutting the Cost of Buying Insurance

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

UnitedHealthcare Lowers Rates for the District of Columbia’s Health-Insurance Exchange - A Sign Competition Is Already Cutting the Cost of Buying Insurance

UnitedHealthcare today lowered the rates it is proposing to charge customers through the District’s new health-insurance exchange by almost 10 percent.
 
The company dropped its rates after insurers earlier this month disclosed their proposed rates publicly.
 
Because prices on the exchange will be transparent and easy to compare when it opens Oct. 1, they will be far more competitive for the individuals and small businesses who will buy insurance through the exchange. 
 
For instance, for a 40-year-old who works for a small business, UnitedHealthcare today proposed charging an average $392 a month for an HMO plan with the second-best level of coverage in terms of keeping out-of-pocket costs down. That fell from $434 in UnitedHealthcare’s original proposal, a $40-a-month difference. (For people below certain income levels, there will be subsidies under the federal Affordable Care Act.)
 
“I want to commend UnitedHealthcare for adjusting adroitly to this new market by lowering rates and helping make insurance affordable for all,” said William P. White, commissioner of the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, which must approve the rates. “It’s a sign of things to come, and shows how powerfully the exchange will stimulate competition now that consumers can easily shop for the best deal.” 
 
The three other insurers in the exchange – Aetna, CareFirst and Kaiser Permanente – can still revise their rates, too, for the almost 300 policies they have submitted for approval, which take effect Jan. 1. 
 
UnitedHealthcare is a unit of UnitedHealth Group, the largest single health insurer in the U.S. with 70 million people insured.
 
To see a table of the proposed rates, including the new UnitedHealthcare rates, visit disb.dc.gov/hbxplans.