Smaller-than-requested HMSA rate increase approved


The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Insurance Division approved a reduced rate increase from Hawaii Medical Services Association for its community rated group plans, which mainly cover small businesses with less than 100 employees.

HMSA requested a rate hike of 8.6 percent. Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito approved a 6.8 percent rate. The reduction saves consumers and businesses about $10 million.

The affected plans include the Preferred Provider Plan, CompMed Plan, Student Plan 19 and several Health Plan Hawaii plans. Together, the plans cover more than 118,000 Hawaii consumers.

“The biggest issue we face with health insurance rates is the increases in health care costs,” Ito said. “Year over year, health care costs have risen on average 6 to 8 percent, far outpacing inflation and wages.”

The new rate increase will be effective July 1.

Factors in the increase include fees associated with the Affordable Care Act. The fees account for 2 points of the 6.8 percent increase.