KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Feds Cite Two Insurers For Excessive Premium Increases

The insurance companies will be able to charge the higher amount, but they will be required to disclose on websites that reviewers found the rates to be unreasonable and explain why they are still imposing them.

Reuters: U.S. Cites Assurant Unit Over Health Premium Hike
U.S. officials on Monday cited two health insurers for excessive premium increases, under consumer protection rules of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law that could soon be nullified by the Supreme Court. The Department of Health and Human Services called on Assurant Inc's Time Insurance Co and Bedford Park, Illinois-based United Security Life and Health Insurance Co to either offer rebates to customers in six states or rescind premium hikes ranging up to 24 percent (Morgan, 4/16).

CQ HealthBeat: CMS Announces More Small Health Plans With 'Unreasonable' Proposed Rates
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services official on Monday announced that two insurers in five states have proposed rate hikes that are "unreasonable." The insurers, Time Insurance Company, a unit of Assurant Life, and United Security, will be able to charge the rates, which consist of increases ranging from 12 percent to 22 percent. But they must state on their websites and on the CMS website that reviewers have found the rates to be unreasonable and explain why they are imposing them anyway. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release that it's time for the companies to "immediately rescind" the rate hikes, "issue refunds to consumers or publicly explain their refusal to do so" (Reichard, 4/16).

Politico Pro: HHS Rate Review Hasn't Hit Big Insurers Yet
HHS dinged another two health insurers Monday for proposing "unreasonable" rate hikes — but the department has yet to reel in a big fish. Time Insurance proposed unreasonable rate hikes in five states, and United Security didn't provide enough data to justify a rate hike in Arizona, CCIIO announced Monday. That comes after months of sporadic HHS announcements about "unreasonable" rate hikes from Trustmark Life, John Alden Life Insurance and Everence — an Indiana-based insurance company that primarily serves the Mennonite community (Millman, 4/16).

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