Trust­mark in­sur­ance rate in­creases un­rea­son­able: HHS

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

HHS con­cluded that Trust­mark Life In­sur­ance Co. pro­posed un­rea­son­able health in­sur­ance premium in­creases in Alabama, Ari­zona, Penn­syl­va­nia, Vir­ginia and Wy­oming that would af­fect a to­tal of 10,000 res­i­dents. The com­pany raised rates by 13% in those states, Gary Co­hen, act­ing di­rec­tor of over­sight at HHS’ Cen­ter for Consumer In­for­ma­tion and In­sur­ance Over­sight, said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with re­porters. Be­gin­ning last Septem­ber, health in­sur­ers are re­quired to jus­tify any premium rate in­crease of 10% or more be­fore the in­crease takes ef­fect. And start­ing Sept. 1, 2012, each state may have its own min­i­mum premium in­crease that re­quires a re­view, based on the state’s premium and cost trends. Cur­rently, 37 states have a rate-re­view pro­gram in place, and the fed­eral govern­ment will con­duct re­views for those states that don’t have such a pro­gram. Co­hen said HHS has pro­vided $250 mil­lion in fund­ing to help states with the rate re­view process. For ex­am­ple, Co­hen said, the as­sis­tance has al­lowed states to hire ac­tu­ar­ies and de­velop web­sites that share in­for­ma­tion with con­sumers. Trust­mark Life, a sub­sidiary of Lake For­est, Ill.-based Trust­mark Cos., said in a state­ment that the com­pany “re­spect­fully dis­agrees” with HHS’ con­clu­sions. “As a smaller car­rier, our loss ra­tios can vary sig­nif­i­cantly from year to year, and we take that volatil­ity into con­sid­er­a­tion.”

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