Durbin Statement on Proposed Rate Changes for Illinois Health Exchange

Calls on state to closely review, negotiate fair premiums for Illinois

CHICAGO—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement on the insurer-proposed rate changes that could impact Illinoisans purchasing individual health insurance through the Illinois’ Health Marketplace next year:
The Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) – which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) in Illinois – sent their highest ranking officials to meet with me in Washington in April and told me they were losing money and considering pulling out of Illinois. Something sounded wrong. The Blues in California and Florida are doing well. Why was Illinois in trouble?
I called on Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to look into Illinois personally, and she sent a team to Chicago to try and understand why there was a greater problem in Illinois than in other major states served by the Blues.
The Department of Health and Human Services made a series of recommendations, based on experiences across the nation, that Illinois BCBS could be more competitive, reduce costs, and still maintain quality care in our state and the other states they serve. I hope BCBS took those recommendations seriously.
The Illinois Department of Insurance is now reviewing the Blues initial big number request for a rate increase. I trust that the Illinois Department will hold BCBS to an honest standard which requires reform of their practices reflecting the new health care marketplace, professional management of their company, and a sensitivity to the costs to be borne by businesses and consumers in our state.   
For the record, the Affordable Care Act has achieved solid results in Illinois—our uninsured rate dropped from 15.5% in 2013 to just 8.7% in 2015; our seniors have saved an average of $1,041 each on their prescription drugs; young people can now stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26; and no Illinoisan will ever again spend a sleepless night worrying that a pre-existing condition will prevent them, or a family member, from getting health insurance. Our priority now must be to ensure that health reform continues to work for all people across our state.