HHS Unveils Format For Consumer Notices Of Insurance Rate Increases
Meanwhile, in other policy news related to the health law, Stateline examines how, for some states, waivers really are a big deal.
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Rolls Out Format For Consumer Notices of Insurance Rate Hikes
The proposed format for notices that insurance companies would have to post electronically when they ask for rate increases of 10 percent or more was unveiled Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services. The notices are part of a larger rate-review regulation included in the health care law that requires "unreasonable" insurance rate increases to be reviewed by the federal government. Under the proposed regulation, the responsibility for scrutinizing those increases will rest largely with state insurance regulators as long as those states have adequate systems analyze the requests (Norman, 3/7).
Modern Healthcare: CMS offers examples of insurance rate increase notices
The CMS has released proposed notices showing what information insurers will have to disclose to consumers about excessive premium rate increases. Starting in July, insurers must report and justify rate increases over 10 percent in the individual and small-group markets. They must also tell consumers why they are increasing rates by such amounts. The hikes are subject to rate review by either state regulators or the HHS, according to proposed HHS rules issued in December. A sample consumer notice published by the CMS explains in plain language the reason for the proposed rate increase, including details of medical cost services such as hospital inpatient, physician payments and pharmacy. The example notice also includes the insurer's recent rate hike history (Vesely, 3/7).
Stateline: For Some States, Health Care Waivers Are A Big Deal
President Obama is encouraging states to develop their own health care plans if they want to, but his announcement of that policy last week didn't mean much to most governors; right now, they haven't shown signs that they've got alternative plans. For two governors, however, the president's announcement carried real significance. Those two are Democrats Peter Shumlin of Vermont and John Kitzhaber of Oregon. Shumlin is promoting a single-payer system that would cover every Vermonter free of charge; Kitzhaber is drawing up a radical change in the way health services are delivered (Vestal, 3/8).