HONOLULU — Hawaii’s two largest health insurers have filed to raise insurance rates next year.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association is seeking to raise its rates by an average of about 27 percent, while Kaiser Permanente is proposing a rate increase of about 20 percent, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2vvW16K ) on Wednesday.

Together, the increases would impact nearly 33,000 residents covered by the federal Affordable Care Act.

The insurers filed the proposal rates with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees policies under the Affordable Care Act.

The health insurance companies have blamed policies of both former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump for the proposed rate increases.

“Our (rate) request comes in a very difficult environment,” the Hawaii Medical Service Association wrote in its proposal. “Policy makers in Washington, D.C., have not determined what course to follow with the ACA, creating uncertainty nationally and in Hawaii.

“We realize that any rate increase creates hardship for some members. However, the increase is necessary to cover the costs of covering this population and keeping the plan viable in the future.”

The association reported losses of $48 million in 2015 and 2016 for Affordable Care Act individual plans and expects a third year of losses for 2017.

Kaiser echoed the association in its proposal, saying in a statement that “the experience of this block of business (ACA policies) has not been favorable,” with medical benefits exceeding premiums for individuals by more than 40 percent in 2016. The company collected $45.5 million in premiums and spent $65.1 million on claims, it stated.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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