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Mass. Regulator Sets Hearing On Group Rates

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The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has scheduled a public hearing March 31 on a new state rule requiring health maintenance organizations to file for approval on large premium increases for small groups.

The hearing will give interested persons a chance to comment on the rule, which requires health care insurers to receive approval from the state insurance commissioner to raise group rates higher than 4.8%.

The rule, adopted as an emergency amendment, orders HMOs to file proposed increases, along with supporting materials, 30 days in advance of their effective dates. It also gives the Commissioner of Insurance authority to reject increases.

The hearing will be held in the DOI’s offices in Boston starting at 10 a.m.

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation adopted the rule last month after carriers such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts announced double-digit increases to small group rates.