LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- The rates for half of the insurers that will participate on Arkansas' exchange under the federal health care law will be the same as the ones the companies first proposed, state insurance officials said Tuesday.
A day after announcing the rates for the 71 plans that will be offered by the four insurers on the exchange, the Arkansas Insurance Department released more details about the premiums that were originally proposed. Open enrollment for the exchange, an online marketplace where consumers can shop for coverage, begins Oct. 1 with coverage to begin Jan. 1.
The department said there was no difference between the rates proposed and those announced for plans offered by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Multi State Plan. The biggest difference was for QualChoice Health Insurance of Arkansas, whose rates were 25.1 percent lower than originally proposed by the company. Rates for Arkansas Health and Wellness Solutions were 5.3 percent lower than originally proposed by the company.
State officials expect about 500,000 people to participate on the exchange.
The premiums will vary based on age, geography, family size and tobacco use, with three levels of plans — bronze, silver and gold — available. Bronze plans are likely to have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs if medical services are provided. There also are high-deductible plans available for young adults under the age of 30 and certain other individuals.
State insurance officials expect few Arkansans to pay the total premium amount, since many will qualify for tax credits available.