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New Site Lets Consumers Monitor Health Insurance Rate Hikes

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USA Today is running a story today about the health insurance rate review website that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the HHS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight are setting up to meet Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rate review information disclosure requirements.

PPACA requires states to develop rate review programs for individual and small group coverage or let HHS handle their rate review programs, and HHS is requiring that notices of increases for more than 10% get extra attention. Regulators must be sure that justifications for double-digit increase notices appear on the Web.

Kelly Kennedy, the USA Today reporter, reports on the apparent HHS presumption that many of the increases are not justified by the underlying health care costs.

“We are taking a good, hard look at why insurance companies are seeking to raise your rates, why your premiums might be going up, and making sure these decisions are public and justified,” Kennedy quotes HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as saying. “This is just a start, and over time we will be reporting more of these requests.”

No word on when Congress will begin making doctors, hospitals and drug manufacturers post explanations of their price increases on the Web.

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