IBJNews

Health insurers lose push to ease rate review

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

U.S. insurers led by WellPoint Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc. failed to get federal regulators to change a rule in the 2010 health-care overhaul that triggers a review of any premium increases exceeding 10 percent.

The ruling takes effect this year and adds pressure on insurers to justify price increases. The health insurance industry’s Washington lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plan, had asked the government to do away with the 10 percent rate review threshold, calling it flawed.

The rules were prompted partly by a proposal from the California subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint to raise rates as much as 39 percent in 2010. After a review by California’s insurance commissioner, the underlying calculations were found to be incorrect and WellPoint cut the increase in half, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Effective rate review works,” said Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in a statement announcing the rules. “It does so by protecting consumers from unreasonable rate increases and bringing needed transparency to the marketplace.”

Insurance exchanges set up by the health-care overhaul will offer tax credits for Americans to buy private coverage by 2019. Starting this year, insurers are to provide state and federal regulators with justification for any premium increases of 10 percent or more.

Insurers are subject to the reviews starting on Sept. 1, the government said in announcing the process. In September 2012, the U.S. will set up new price thresholds for state-by- state review to replace the 10 percent benchmark.

Karen Ignagni, the America’s Health Insurance Plan chief executive officer, said policymakers should focus on lowering underlying medical costs such as hospitals, doctors, technology, and drug prices.

“Health plans are doing their part to restrain health-care cost growth by partnering with providers across the country to change payment models to promote and reward safe, high-quality, cost-effective care,” Ignagni said in a statement.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Tell Me Again?
    I don't care how much you don't like the mandate, this bill is GOOD for Americans and Obama should be commended for getting it done.
  • cant wait
    I can not wait to see justifications such as "your rate went up because your obese" or "your rate went up because you smoke". Lets force people to pay their own personal cost of insurance.
    As a very low risk insured I am tired of paying increased premium because people are fat, lazy and dont take care of themselves. Its not always easy for me to go the gym every day, but I do it. I would love to eat fast food every day, but I dont.
    People need to live with the consequences of their choices.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. President Obama has referred to the ACA as "Obamacare" any number of times; one thing it is not, if you don't qualify for a subsidy, is "affordable".

  2. One important correction, Indiana does not have an ag-gag law, it was soundly defeated, or at least changed. It was stripped of everything to do with undercover pictures and video on farms. There is NO WAY on earth that ag gag laws will survive a constitutional challenge. None. Period. Also, the reason they are trying to keep you out, isn't so we don't show the blatant abuse like slamming pigs heads into the ground, it's show we don't show you the legal stuf... the anal electroctions, the cutting off of genitals without anesthesia, the tail docking, the cutting off of beaks, the baby male chicks getting thrown alive into a grinder, the deplorable conditions, downed animals, animals sitting in their own excrement, the throat slitting, the bolt guns. It is all deplorable behavior that doesn't belong in a civilized society. The meat, dairy and egg industries are running scared right now, which is why they are trying to pass these ridiculous laws. What a losing battle.

  3. Eating there years ago the food was decent, nothing to write home about. Weird thing was Javier tried to pass off the story the way he ended up in Indy was he took a bus he thought was going to Minneapolis. This seems to be the same story from the founder of Acapulco Joe's. Stopped going as I never really did trust him after that or the quality of what being served.

  4. Indianapolis...the city of cricket, chains, crime and call centers!

  5. "In real life, a farmer wants his livestock as happy and health as possible. Such treatment give the best financial return." I have to disagree. What's in the farmer's best interest is to raise as many animals as possible as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible. There is a reason grass-fed beef is more expensive than corn-fed beef: it costs more to raise. Since consumers often want more food for lower prices, the incentive is for farmers to maximize their production while minimizing their costs. Obviously, having very sick or dead animals does not help the farmer, however, so there is a line somewhere. Where that line is drawn is the question.

ADVERTISEMENT