U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the Obama administration will take action if health insurers continue to blame 2011 rate hikes on the Affordable Care Act.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article earlier this week in which a reporter noted that a few health plans said the new Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), will cut their costs this year, but that many others said PPACA would increase their costs.
The reporter quoted Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, as saying that adding benefits mandates increases health plan costs.
Sebelius, a former Kansas insurance commissioner and former president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., now has written to Ignagni to say that she has heard that “several health insurer carriers are sending letters to their enrollees falsely blaming premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act.”
“I urge you to inform your members that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases,” Sebelius says in the letter.
“We will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections,” Sebelius says.