The Supreme Court may have upheld the Affordable Care Act, but Texas may be going its own way:
To make insurance more affordable, the federal law requires every state to conduct a special review whenever a health insurer wants to raise premiums more than 10 percent. This rate review would help protect small businesses and individuals who buy their own policies. The provision went into effect last September, and since then, insurers made nine such requests in Texas.
But so far the Texas Department of Insurance hasn’t completed any reviews. Officially, they’re all pending.
In the meantime, the insurance companies can go ahead and raise the rates anyway. An insurer called Celtic, for example, has raised rates on three policies in Texas by 20 percent.
“We were growing increasingly frustrated,” said Mimi Garcia, organizing director for Texas Well and Healthy, an advocacy group that has been active on the rate review issue.
“They’ve been very unresponsive,” Garcia said of the Department of Insurance. “They have not returned calls. They have not returned repeated requests. And it really took having over 1,600 Texans signing on to a petition to say, ‘Hey, this is something we care about and we need to know what’s going on with this.’ “
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