NJ health care premiums to decrease 9.3 percent in 2019, Murphy says

Daniel J. Munoz//September 7, 2018

NJ health care premiums to decrease 9.3 percent in 2019, Murphy says

Daniel J. Munoz//September 7, 2018

New Jersey residents seeking health care in 2019 will see their rates drop by an average of 9.3 percent due to a package of laws and executive actions signed by Gov. Phil Murphy since assuming office in January, the governor said Friday.

Speaking at the Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Murphy said the decrease came despite efforts by President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Many of those actions Murphy took since becoming governor mirrored aspects of the ACA. In May, Murphy signed two laws, one which would enact an individual health care mandate effective Jan. 1 and another to re-create a reinsurance program funded by penalties from state residents who didn’t meet the mandate. The program would also get federal funding and in some cases, state appropriations.

Under the reinsurance program, insurers will be reimbursed for 60 percent of claims between $40,000 and $215,000 generated by a person during a single year.

According to the governor’s office, premiums in 2019 will be 15 percent lower than what they would have been without the program.

In 2017, health insurance rates in New Jersey’s individual market increased by 8.7 percent; the following year, they went up an additional 23.3 percent, said Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride, also at the press conference.

The reinsurance program, Murphy said, keeps health care costs down by reimbursing insurers for certain high-cost claims.

A state resident who purchased a silver plan in the individual market for $350 a month, Murphy said, would see their premium decrease to $314 in 2019, rather than increase to $394, as a result of the reinsurance program.

Federal officials last month signed off on New Jersey’s waiver for the reinsurance program.

“What we’ve done today, what we’ve tried to do collectively, is to put stability back into this which gives [insurance companies] confidence to be able to participate at rates that are acceptable,” Murphy said.

Added Caride: “Under this administration, New Jersey has worked to stabilize the market and to implement innovative measures to improve access and affordability. Without these actions by the state, rates would have increased by double digits over last year.”