Effective today, health insurance companies must provide written justification when they propose raising rates for medical insurance plans by ten percent or more. This is accomplished by Health insurers posting notices in a clear, easy-to-understand format on a new consumer website maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, called Healthcare.gov. Also, rates for medical insurance plans will be evaluated by experts to see whether they’re justified. That information will be made available to consumers too. The goal is to create transparency and make health insurers think twice about a double digit rate hike if they know their reasons will be made public. These requirements are all part of the new healthcare law.
When information about health plans appears side by side, health insurers suddenly become very reluctant to be the most expensive option. Nationally, there are many examples of the power of increased transparency and scrutiny. In the last year, many states have blocked or reduced unjustified rate increases that would have devastated the finances of families and businesses.
When California’s largest insurance health insurance company tried to raise rates three times in the last year, for example, increasing some premiums by as much as 87 percent, the State Insurance Commissioner pointed out that much of the increase was based on faulty data. The health insurer backed down and reduced the rates, saving individuals, families and business owners in California millions of dollars. Similar results with medical insurance plans have also occurred in states, such as Connecticut, Oregon, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and North Dakota.
To help states monitor rates, the Department of Health and Human Services is providing states with $250 million under the new healthcare law to hire new staff, enhance consumer protections, and conduct more thorough rate reviews. According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, 41 states have already taken steps to strengthen their scrutiny of unreasonable medical insurance rate hikes.
If you are an individual, family or self employed person and need low cost medical insurance, we can help. Our online medical insurance quotes allow you to shop and compare the rates from leading health insurance companies in your state. Similar to a health insurance exchange, rates and benefits appear side by side so you can easily select the medical insurance plan with the best value. Get started today!