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HHS: Health rates climbed in 2013

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Health insurance rate hikes took a bigger bite out of users of U.S. individual and small-group coverage in 2013.

The size of the average implemented small-group rate hike rose to 7.1 percent, from 4.7 percent in 2012. Increases of 10 percent or more affected 18 percent of the enrollees, up from 9.7 percent.

In the individual market, the average increase jumped to 10.3 percent, from 7.1 percent. The percentage of individual coverage holders affected by double-digit increases soared to 41 percent, from 17 percent the year before.

Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported the 2013 data in a report on rate review program results from the 37 states that provided complete data. HHS published 2012 data for 35 states in a report released a year ago.

See also: PPACA rate review program expands

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires HHS to analyze potentially “unreasonable” requests for rate increases. HHS asks states for data on all increases but asks states to give increase requests for 10 percent or more extra attention. HHS does not ask for states to look at requests for rate decreases.

Even though insurers asked for bigger increases for more enrollees in 2013 than in 2012, insurance regulators seemed to be more likely to accept the increase requests as being reasonable in 2013. In 2013, for example, regulator moves to deny or change rate increase proposals, cut the percentage of individual policyholders affected by double-digit increases only slightly to 41 percent, from 42 percent. In 2012, regulator moves slashed the percentage of individual policyholders affected by double-digit increases to about 17 percent, from 23 percent.

PPACA Rate Review  Results
  2013 2012
Number of filings 647 832
Lives affected by implemented rate filings 6.9 million 7 million
Average implemented rate change +10.3% +7.1%
Number of filings 1,099 772
Lives affected by implemented rate filings 10.4 million 10.9 million
Average implemented rate change +7.1% +4.7%


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