The Affordable Care Act gave the Department of Human Services the power to review rate hikes in states that didn’t have robust review programs. However, HHS does not have the power to actually block rates from going into effect. Insurers called out by HHS have the choice of dealing with some negative press or canceling their rate hike. Everence, Trustmark Life Insurance Co., John Alden Life Insurance Co. and Time Insurance Co. were called out by HHS, but decided to press on with their hikes. “Companies with unreasonable rate increases will have to justify to future consumers why they choose to raise their rates, and they will have to compete in the marketplace with companies that … don’t have unjustified rate increases,” said a spokesman for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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