Monday, September 19, 2016

Oregon Health Insurers Rebound

Oregon health insurers could be turning the corner, as three of the largest plans were able to narrow their losses — or even turn a profit — in the first half of the year, according to their financial statements.

The most dramatic example is that of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest, which had net income of $40.9 million, or $25 million on just its underwriting and not including net investment gains, according to its filing with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

For the same period of 2015, Kaiser lost $13 million.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Providence Health Plan also were profitable in the first six months. Regence had a $3 million profit, up from a $4 million loss during the same period last year. Providence turned a $12 million loss from last year into a $3.5 million profit for this.

The numbers are a rare piece of good news in a market that has been rocked by turmoil and departures after insurers lost money on the new individual market created by the Affordable Care Act.
Premiums were set too low to cover claims and the ACA’s risk corridors program came up short and failed to cover the gap. Oregon’s Health CO-OP and Health Republic Insurance Co. have gone out of business, while LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon will be exiting the state at the end of the year.

One of the most dramatic stories was that of Moda Health Plan, which quickly ballooned to the largest carrier in the individual market, only to suffer huge losses and come under regulatory supervision.

Moda has since raised capital by selling some assets and now is showing signs of stabilizing. Moda didn’t turn a profit, but the Portland-based company’s loss for the first two quarters was slightly less than a year earlier, at $33 million.

Two other plans also narrowed their losses:
  • LifeWise lost $6 million vs. $18 million a year earlier.
  • Zoom Health Plan Inc. lost about $643,000 vs. $1.5 million a year earlier.

Two health plans lost more through the first two quarters than they did a year earlier:
  • PacificSource Health Plans lost $9.4 million, up from $6.2 million the year before.
  • Health Net Health Plan of Oregon lost $29 million, more than four times as much in 2015, when it lost $7 million.

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