Michigan insurers seek premium hikes as demand for diet drugs soars

Michigan health insurers are looking to raise premiums again next year, with rising demand for expensive diabetes and weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy contributing to what they see as needed rate hikes.

A report from the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, which reviews and approves insurer rates, shows health insurance companies are seeking hikes that would average 7.1% for their 2024 small group policies , those for businesses and organizations with fewer than 51 employees. There are currently 428,328 Michiganders enrolled in such plans.

Ozempic was originally approved by the FDA to treat people with type 2 diabetes who are at risk of serious health consequences without medication.  In recent months, there has been a spike in demand for Ozempic, or semaglutide, due to its weight-loss benefits, which has led to shortages.  Some doctors prescribe Ozempic off-label to treat obesity.

For individual policies, such as those sold on the Healthcare.gov website, also known as Obamacare, insurers are looking for an average increase of 5.5%. Those plans currently cover 372,999 Michiganders.

Last year, state regulators approved rate hikes averaging 5.8% for small groups and 5.5% for individual plans.

Michigan-based insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield cited “above-average drug cost trends” as one reason it needs to hike rates.


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