SEARCH FOR Health Insurance Agents
Plan Type:
Your State:
Find Agents

Pa. investigating the rate hikes of health insurers

By Keith L. Martin-Gov. Ed Rendell announced on June 9 that the Pennsylvania Insurance Department will investigate its biggest health providers to determine the reasons behind a pattern of controversial rate increases, and especially the extent to which those increases are driven by the use of questionable health profiling tools, as per statement.
The companies in the review are: Highmark controlling 27% of the market by premiums; Independence Blue Cross 25%; Aetna (6%); Coventry (6%); University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (5%); Capital Blue Cross (5%); United Health care (5%); Geisinger Insurance Group (3%); and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (2%). Rendell said that federal health reform is providing many opportunities for private insurers, beginning with 32 million new customers.
â??So I am disappointed to see these companies hiking premiums for those most in need of health care, especially when they know that all discrimination against sick people will be prohibited in 2014 under the federal reform law,â? he said.
The announcement comes as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced $51 million in grants to aid oversight of insurance premiums and rate hikes to states demonstrating a need for the assistance. Officials said Pennsylvania â??has some of the weakest protectionsâ? nationwide against rate increases for small businesses, with no cap on rate increases due to someone in the group suffering from a serious health condition. Under federal reform, in 2014, health insurance exchanges will allow individuals and small businesses to purchase coverage prohibiting any premium differences based on health status.

Rendell said that we need a smooth transition into 2014, but instead, we are seeing some truly exorbitant rate increases â?? with some small businesses seeing annual increases in excess of 50 percent. This level of increase is not about passing on increases in health spending, which average in the 5 percent to 10 percent range; this is about companies trying to get the highest possible rates before the federal reforms take effect.
Joel Ario, the stateâ??s insurance commissioner, said recent market surveillance work, including a PID survey and broker reports, â??suggest that some companies are expanding the use of individualized medical questionnaires and drug profiling in the small group market.

Tags: , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 4:05 am and is filed under Health Insurance. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Captcha Captcha Reload