Two insurers did disclose information about their rate changes, and they are proposing to slash their premiums for health plans by a significant percentage—as much as 16.05 percent in one Florida county.
"Some insurers chose to put in zero," said OIR spokesman Harvey Bennett, whose state has nearly 1 million enrollees in Obamacare plans. "The companies did this—they put it in there."
"Due to system limitations, the companies could not shield their information that they deemed as trade secrets from public view, so some of those companies filled in the value of zero in the fields they knew were visible to the public in order to protect the information from public view, again claiming a trade secret," Bennett said.
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The Sunshine State will allow insurers to keep dark their proposals for how much their rates should rise or decrease next year for plans sold on HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare marketplace that sells plans in 36 states, including Florida, he said. Oddly, there is still an option on OIR's website for the public to comment on an insurer's proposed rate changes, even if they aren't visible.
Bennett told CNBC that the OIR is not going to challenge the Florida insurers' claims of privacy, nor will it release that information about rate changes on its own. Asked if OIR believed the insurers were legally correct in claiming that trade secret exemption in not disclosing their proposed rates, Bennett said, "A judge would have to decide that."
He said insurers are claiming the exemption under Florida statute 624.423 f.s. which can be viewed here.
The move by insurers means that Floridians, as opposed to residents of at least 10 other states so far, may not know what the Obamacare rates for 2015 will be until they are finalized, which is expected in late July.The other 10 states' insurance regulators have publicly disclosed what insurers want to charge Obamacare enrollees.
Bennett did say, "Of the filings we've gotten so far, we have had some increases and we've had some decreases." He did not have information about what the range of those increases and decreases were.
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Ironically, Florida's insurance regulator, because of a decision by the state legislature, does not have the power until 2016 to approve or disapprove Obamacare exchange-sold plan rates, unless they affect an insurers' solvency.
But because OIR has had rate approval over plans sold in the individual insurance market, the federal Obamacare regulator, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, does not have the authority to alter proposed rates for Florida plans sold on HealthCare.gov.
"We're accepting the rates as informational only," Bennett said. HealthCare.gov has not released the proposed rates for the 36 states that it sells plans in. The federal exchange sells Florida plans because the state opted not to run its own Obamacare exchange.
Florida Blue, the state's largest insurer and a major player on the Obamacare market, refused to comment.
Cigna referred questions about its rates to OIR. The other insurers who sold plans on the exchange last year and are seeking new rates had no immediate comment.
United Healthcare of Florida, a division of UnitedHealthcare, said it would not yet disclose its proposed rates for 2015, the first year UnitedHealthcare will be selling Obamacare plans in the state.