Healthcare reform may not give the federal government direct authority to regulate health insurance premiums, but it does require health insurers seeking “unreasonable” health insurance premium increases must publicly disclose and provide justification for their health insurance rates to consumers, state regulators and the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Federal officials haven’t yet decided how to determine what is an “unreasonable” increase in health insurance premiums, but consumer advocacy groups are already weighing in on what kind of information health insurers should be required to provide. Unsurprisingly health insurance carriers do not like what they’re hearing.
As health insurance companies begin to consider their coming health insurance rate increases and the information they will inevitably be required to provide, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is developing recommendations for federal regulators and has solicited opinions from health insurance companies, medical providers and consumer groups. An NAIC subcommittee has already drafted a reporting form for health insurance premium increase made up of nearly 50 questions.
While consumer advocacy groups push for more robust information requirements for health insurers including details on increases on CEO salaries, broker commissions and prices charged by doctors, hospitals and drug companies, health insurers push back that additional reporting requirements will result in higher administrative costs which will result in higher health insurance premiums. Consumer advocacy groups respond if health insurers continue to blame increased health insurance premiums on rising healthcare costs, consumers deserve to have information on those healthcare costs available so they can see for themselves what doctors, hospitals and drug companies charge. After discussing points made by both consumer groups and health insurers, the NAIC members agreed Thursday to make revisions to the form and reconsider it later this month.
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