Insurance Commissioners Vote On Health Insurance Spending Requirements
Meeting in Orlando, Fla., members of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners this morning approved recommendations related to a contentious provision of the health law -- the medical loss ratio.
Kaiser Health News: "Insurance regulators unanimously approved controversial rules Thursday governing how much insurers must spend on patients' medical care without adopting any of several last-minute amendments some consumer advocates had feared would gut key provisions. The recommendations will now go to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has final say." The vote, by leaders of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, took place after "months of meetings and debate involving industry and consumer representatives. The rules center on the 'medical loss ratio,' which is how much insurers spend on medical care versus administration and profit" (Appleby, 10/20).
Reuters: "Wall Street and healthcare advocates alike have been closely watching the process, which could severely alter the bottom line for insurers like Aetna Inc and WellPoint and shake up consumers' choice in insurance policies. ... Ahead of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' vote, insurers [pressed] for last-minute changes they say are needed to stay competitive, including tax exemptions, a longer phase-in period, and a broader national assessment to see if companies are meeting the rules" (Heavey, 10/20).
The Hill: The law requires insurers to spend 80 percent to 85 percent of premiums on medical care, a proportion known as medical-loss ratio. "Two liberal groups on Wednesday called on state insurance commissioners to stiffen their spines and not cave in to industry pressure ahead of a major vote Thursday on health-reform regulations." The groups, Consumer Watchdog and Health Care for America Now, are calling on regulators to resist lobbying pressure from the industry (Pecquet, 10/20).