Here in New York, insurance companies are already required to do this. Further, the NY State Department of Insurance can deny any proposed rate hikes that it feels are not justified.
But, it many other states this is not the case. Roughly 30 states still don’t have the power to block outrageous rate increases. This may soon change.
“For far too long, families and small employers have been at the mercy of insurance rate increases that often put coverage out of their reach,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “Rate review will shed a bright light on the industry’s behavior and drive market competition to lower costs.”
This move by the federal government sends a strong message to the insurance industry, who have long fought efforts to give state regulators more authority.
Yet, even with our own state’s stricter oversight of insurance industry premium rates, New York’s system is not perfect. After all, insurance plans still have the audacity to propose rate hikes of as much as 56% and valid explanations can often be hard to come by. But, more and more people are not just taking notice of insurance industry abuses, they are taking a stand. And the more people who take a stand, the greater the likelihood that consumers will come out on top.
To learn more, click below:
“U.S. requires health insurers to publicly justify big rate hikes” L.A. Times, 09/02/11
Hear what other New Yorkers have to say about their own premium rate increases – New York State Department of Health (click on the sixth column, “Comments Received”)