Some states boost transparency of insurance rate review amid criticism

Connecticut regulators deny an insurer's proposed rate increase but criticize the state's public hearing process. Meanwhile, Illinois officials give the public online access to rate filings and Florida advocates blame state lawmaker's suspension of rate review for the big premium increases in that state.

CT Mirror: Do Public Hearings Influence What Health Insurance Costs?
A Fairfield County couple traveled to Hartford in June to urge regulators not to let Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield raise rates on close to 66,200 health insurance policies, including their son's. It was the first public hearing in nearly four years on a proposal to raise individual-market health insurance rates in the state. A month later, the Connecticut Insurance Department rejected Anthem's proposal and suggested it seek a smaller rate increase. But what role did the public hearing have in that outcome? Not much, according to the department's written decision (Levin-Becker, 8/6).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Advocates Say Florida Consumers To Pay For State Lawmakers' Decision
Republicans were quick to pounce Monday on Florida's announcement that residents buying health insurance on the individual market for next year will face a 13.2 percent average increase in monthly premiums -; one of the steepest rate hikes announced for any state. 'Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,' said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election. But consumer advocates and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the state's former insurance commissioner, blame the increases on Florida lawmakers' decision last year to suspend the state's authority to negotiate and approve premiums on policies sold to people who buy insurance themselves instead of getting it through an employer (Galewitz, 8/5).

The Associated Press: Illinois Opens Insurance Rate Records to Public
State officials announced Tuesday that Illinois is giving the public online access for the first time to forms filed by insurers when they set the rates they'll charge, a move that consumer advocates called a step in the right direction. "We are pleased to provide consumers direct access to review rate and form filings," said Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron in a statement. Public access online "demonstrates our commitment to protecting consumers by providing assistance and information which fosters a competitive insurance marketplace," he said (Johnson, 8/5).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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