The New Review Process for "Unreasonable" Premium Hikes

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<p>This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released proposed regulations on an important Affordable Care Act provision aimed at stemming the tide of health insurance premium increases. The provision calls on the HHS secretary to establish a process for the annual review of "unreasonable" increases in premium rates by insurance carriers.</p>
<p>In a <a href="/blog/2010/new-review-process-unreasonable-premium-hikes">new blog post</a>, Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., vice president for Affordable Health Insurance at The Commonwealth Fund, examines how the states and the federal government will review rate increases by insurers, as well as publicly disclose those increases. The regulations specify that any rate increase of 10 percent or more in the individual or small employer group insurance markets will be subject to review, and outline a process for evaluating whether the increase is "unreasonable."</p>
<p>"While HHS does not have the authority to deny the rate increases," Collins says, "the process will vastly increase transparency in insurance markets and should contribute to reducing the overall rate of health insurance premium growth." <br /></p>