The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is sending $46 million to 45 states and the District of Columbia to improve oversight of health care insurance premium increases.
States also can use the grants, which will help regulators implement the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), to act against unreasonable rate hikes, according to HHS officials.
“For too long, insurance companies in many states have increased health insurance premiums with little oversight, transparency or public accountability,” HHS officials say in announcing the grants. “Health insurance premiums have doubled on average during the last 10 years, much faster than wages and inflation, putting health coverage out of reach for millions of Americans and business owners.”
Today, regulators in 26 states and the District of Columbia have the authority to reject proposed increases that they deem unwarranted. Regulators in some states have no such authority, and, even in jurisdictions in which regulators can throw out unreasonable increases, regulators lack the means to apply that authority effectively, officials say.
In 2014, a new health insurance exchange coverage distribution system will promote health insurance risk pooling.