Big rate hikes coming in 2022 for some Michigan health insurance plans

Illustration on health care insurance. (By Paul Lachine/Special to the Free Press)

State regulators have approved significant health insurance rate increases for 2022 that are said to reflect recent pent-up demand for medical procedures and services that people put off because of earlier COVID-19 surges.

The increases OK’d by the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services take effect Jan. 1 and will average 7.1% for small group plans — businesses and organization with 50 or fewer employees — and 4.7% for individual market insurance policies purchased through the website. The new rates will impact roughly 742,000 people.

The rate hikes are much bigger than what regulators approved last year because insurers saw fewer claims during the pandemic as people delayed elective procedures and made fewer visits to the doctor. Those previous increases, 1.4% for small groups and 1.1% for individual policies, were unusually low by historical standards.