EMBARGOED For Release: 12:01 AM ET, Thursday, July 22, 2010
— HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH — JULY 2010
ers and businesses have experienced rising costs of their healthcare for decades – often up to twice the rate of inflation for all other products.ajor reforms of theconsumers andny other of the numerousct (PPACA) does nots and services.iscrete changesency and to make our health carepremiums, the Acthich have traditionallyral Department of , to establish a processable” rate increases and provides grants to statesor deny insurers’ ratet.the responsibility too into effect; other states allow insurers to increase rates without pre-approval but give regulatorsauthority to retroactively review increases.
A handful of states merely requireinsurers to file rates “for information only.”
Because the PPACA requires all Americans to have health insurance by 2014, itis imperative that states strive to maintain affordable premiums. This will requirestates to carefully scrutinize insurers’ proposed rate increases to ensure they areabsolutely necessary for maintaining the solvency of the system. States mustexercise or expand their authority to refuse to allow rates to rise beyond that.
• States should analyze surplus as part of their review process for rate increassurplus than is necessary for solvency protection, regulators should consider disapprocontributioes. When a company has moreving additionalns to surplus, which are included in premiums increases. In some cases, it may be appropriate tootential underwritingrate stabilization reserve designed tooffset rate ito policyholders, or for nonprofit plans, spend the money forcharitable pnity health programs or affordable-coverage initiatives.reject rate increases when previously accumulated surpluses are sufficient to absorb plosses.• If surplus is found to be excessive, insurers should hold the excess in ancreases, refund excess amountsurposes such as commu
American consumBefore, during, and after the long legislative battle to pass mhealth insurance system, polls consistently showed thatbusinesses are more concerned about rising costs than aissues related to health care.The newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acontain direct cost controls on the price of health care goodInstead, to slow cost growth, the Act relies on a variety of dintended to improve competition and transpar
Surplus is thedifferencebetween ainsurancecomp
delivery system more cost-effective. With respect to risingcontinues to leave review of rate increases to the states, whad this responsibility. The new law does require the fedeHealth and Human Services, in conjunction with the statesfor annual review of “unreason
healthany’s assetsand liabilities. Thekey function of surplus is toprotect the planagainstunexpected losses.
to improve their rate review. But the authority to approveincreases remains with the states, if they choose to exercise i Currently, a majority of states have given their regulatorsreview and approve or deny some rates before increases g