Commonwealth Magazine – Health Insurance premiums for Massachusetts residents will rise by an average of 7.9 percent at the beginning of next year, despite insurers having profited from declining health care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Beagan, deputy commissioner for the health market at the state Division of Insurance, said the higher premiums reflect several factors, including uncertainty about what health care will look like next year.

“Every company highlighted the uncertainty associated with 2021,” Beagan said during a presentation before the Health Policy Commission on Tuesday.

The biggest increase will be for the lower-cost offerings of Tufts Health Plan on the Massachusetts Health Connector. Beagan said the Division of Insurance is “definitely not happy with” Tufts’ 12.2 percent planned increase. But the division chose not to challenge the increase and conduct a hearing process because that would have prevented the plans from being available in time for October’s open enrollment period on the Health Connector.

Among the other largest health plans in the state, a Boston Medical Center plan that is also available to low-income patients on the Health Connector will see an average 2.5 percent premium increase. Blue Cross Blue Shield’s HMO Blue plan, a commercial plan that covers 80,000 members, will see a 5.4 percent premium increase. Always Health Partners and United Healthcare both are planning increases of at least 9 percent, while members with different Tufts health plans will see increases of at least 7 percent. Harvard Pilgrim’s HMO plan members will see a 5.5 percent increase on average.

Agencies Scramble to Offer School-Day Child Care
Massachusetts Extends Administrative Tax Relief for Local Businesses