HHS issued proposed regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would require health insurers to disclose more information about rate increases.
New rules would boost insurer disclosure
HHS proposed that in 2011, insurers seeking rate increases of 10% or more in the individual and small group market publicly disclose the increase and a justification for them. HHS proposed that beginning in 2012, state-specific thresholds be set for rate disclosure, “using data and trends that better reflect cost trends particular to that state,” according to an HHS statement on the regulations. States with “effective rate review systems” would conduct the reviews, but absent the resources or authority to do them properly, HHS would conduct the reviews, according to the statement.
Information about the outcomes of all reviews for increases of 10% or greater, along with the justification by the insurer, would be posted on the HHS website, and individual justifications would have to be posted on the insurer's own website. Comments on the regulation will be accepted for 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register, according to the rule.
The trade association America's Health Insurance Plans said the federal government should not be monitoring premiums. “We agree that states are best-suited to review premiums because they have the experience, infrastructure, and local market knowledge needed to ensure that consumers are protected and health plans are solvent,” said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO in a statement. “The federal government is not in position to make these assessments.”
The Consumers Union applauded the proposed rules.
“The proposed rules would establish an important new baseline for determining whether rate increases are excessive,” the group wrote in a statement.
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