Health Premium Increases Subject to U.S. Review as of Today
Health insurers will have to justify publicly annual premium increases of 10 percent or more under a U.S. regulation that takes effect today, the Department of Health and Human Services said.
The rationales will be posted on company websites and on the agency’s site, www.healthcare.gov. HHS made the announcement on its site today.
Regulations stemming from the 2010 health-care law, published in May, require insurers to explain proposed rate increases to state and federal officials, the department said in an announcement.
U.S. regulators can’t compel insurers to halt or reduce premium increases under the regulation. The oversight will “shine a light on proposed double-digit increases” and tamp down coverage costs because health plans won’t want to be seen raising prices more than 10 percent, said Steve Larsen, director of the U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
Premiums are rising because of escalating health-care costs, and forcing companies to submit to the new requirements won’t bring them down, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the Washington lobby for health insurers.
“Highly publicized provisions such as premium rate review may make for good sound bites, but literally do nothing to address the soaring cost of medical care,” the trade group said in a statement on its website.
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