Research Medical Insurance Rate Increases by Health Insurance Company « Health Insurance Advisory

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new healthcare reform lawThe new healthcare law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), represents comprehensive healthcare reform legislation signed into law on March 23, 2010. It contains numerous provisions designed to protect consumers and promote low cost medical insurance, including many new taxes to pay for the cost.

In this section of the site, you can also obtain the following information specific to your state: available medical insurance options, efforts to regulate medical insurance premiums, healthcare, the individual medical insurance marketplace and the new healthcare law.

Our objective is to help Americans make sense of the new healthcare law by explaining key provisions in plain English and assisting individuals, families and the self-employed in using this information to find and secure affordable medical insurance.

Research Medical Insurance Rate Increases by Health Insurance Company

Author: Pete S - Sr. Staff Writer | Oct 14 2011 | General Provisions - New Healthcare Law, Premium Increases - New Healthcare Law

In a move to make medical insurance more affordable, the new healthcare law requires that all health insurance companies post their rate history on the federal government’s website. The goal is to create openness and transparency among health insurers. The site’s address is http://companyprofiles.healthcare.gov/.

Consumers can now click their state to see a particular health insurance company’s rate history, including justification for doing so. “Prior to the new healthcare law that information was largely unavailable,” according to Steve Larsen, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deputy director for oversight. “Only a few states include rate raises on their websites,” he said.

“We are taking a good, hard look at why insurance companies are seeking to raise your rates, why your premiums might be going up, and making sure these decisions are public and justified,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “This is just a start, and over time we will be reporting more of these requests.” The announcement comes following the Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey last week that revealed premiums for family coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan rose 9% this year to more than $15,000.

This new rate increase posting requirement comes at a time when the profits of top health insurers have surpassed expectations. According to a report published by Barclays Capital Equity Research, 13 of the top 14 health insurers exceeded their earnings per share estimates and that average earnings were 46% over estimates for the first three months of 2011.

Many health insurance industry analysts attribute the better than expected profit results largely to an ailing economy. “This year is definitely unusual in terms of less than expected utilization,” according to Allan Zee of Argeus Benefits Group, an Arizona based insurance consulting firm which is dedicated to helping individuals and employers find and secure affordable medical insurance. ”We’re seeing much lower levels of claims utilization due to the recession. Individuals are putting off going to the doctor and buying prescription drugs to save money. When the economy rebounds, we will definitely see the consumption of medical goods and services increase,” Zee continued.

Zee also commented that, “having greater price transparency is definitely a good thing and it will help maintain affordable medical insurance.”  There have already been several situations where health insurers reduced premium increases because they were unable to convince regulators that such a steep hike is necessary. While the new healthcare law does not give the federal government control over regulating rate increases (that belongs to the states), there is definitely a sentinel effect which prior to the new healthcare law was virtually non-existent.

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