Health Insurance Companies Expect Premiums to Rise

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Sep. 6, 2010 12:00 am  

In 2009, QualChoice had net income of $2.4 million, down from $2.5 million in 2008.

The insurance changes that will occur in the next year to 18 months are estimated to cause premiums to rise by 2 to 5 percent, said Tom Kane, senior vice president at Stephens Insurance in Little Rock.

Stock said he expects to see premium rise again in 2014 when the mandatory requirement for people to have health insurance goes into effect.

He said he thinks that "many people" will decided not to buy health insurance until they need medical care.

In the meantime, "we have been spending hours and hours and hours ... reading through [the health care reform legislation], working on implementation plans, making modifications to our systems," Stock said.



In Arkansas, nine of the top 10 health insurance companies reported collecting higher premium in 2009 than in 2008.

The top four positions on this year's Arkansas Business list of the largest health insurance companies remained the same.

Once again Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield was the largest health insurance company in the state based on its Arkansas premium, which was more than $1 billion for the second consecutive year. ABCBS' premium includes $218.1 million from the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

QualChoice moved into the No. 5 position this year on the strength of its Arkansas premium rising 24.4 percent to $126.7 million in 2009. Stock attributes the premium growth partly to QualChoice opening its Springdale office in December 2008.

Even though Delta Dental of Arkansas' premium was up slightly in 2009 to $73.7 million, it fell in the rankings to No. 8. It had been No. 7 on last year's list with $70.7 million in Arkansas premium.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.

Latest Arkansas Business Poll

Do you approve of the president taking executive action on immigration?