Federal regulators plan to order government reviews of all “potentially unreasonable” insurance premium increases under a forthcoming rule this fall and publicly disclose the insurers' responses to the inquiries, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. In a two-page letter to industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, Sebelius said insurers have been falsely telling their members that the reforms contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will cause premium increases in 2011. HHS will issue a regulation this fall that will order reviews of questionable rate increases by either state or federal officials. Any insurer that shows a record of imposing unjustified rate increases could be frozen out of the federally mandated health insurance exchanges that are scheduled to start operating in 2014, the secretary wrote. In a written response, AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said the additional benefits mandated under the healthcare reform law, along with the soaring cost of medical care and the declining number of premium-paying enrollees, are to blame for the rate increases.
Late News: HHS set to order reviews of 'unreasonable' rate hikes
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