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Routine Medical Costs Responsible for Premium Rate Hikes, Insurers Say

Rising medical costs were the primary driver of recent rate increases by health insurers, accounting for three-quarters or more of the larger premium hikes requested between July 2012 and June 2013, a new Commonwealth Fund study finds. The analysis is the first ever to take a look at the explanations insurers file nationwide with federal and state authorities to justify rate increases of 10 percent or more, as required by the Affordable Care Act. Currently, insurers are only required to submit rate increase explanations for non-grandfathered plans—those plans that became available after enactment of the health reform law.

The review found that only about half the filings attributed any portion of rate increases to provisions of the health reform law that had gone into effect by 2013. Overall, those effects accounted for a small part of insurers' increases.

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