RATE OVERSIGHT IMPORTANT STEP IN ADDRESSING RISING
HEALTH CARE COSTS
NAIC Meets With HHS
To Address Recent Rate Increases
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2010) — Members of
the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) met today
with President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius to discuss rate increases in the health insurance
industry. The meeting, which also included top health insurance
executives, was called to address recent significant rate increases
as part of a larger discussion on how to improve health insurance
markets for all consumers.
State regulators stressed the
importance of thorough and objective rate review, adding that
premium increases must be actuarially justified without
discriminating unfairly against any groups of policyholders.
“State regulators are best positioned to perform rate review and
many of us do so with great success,” said Jane L. Cline, NAIC
President and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner. “Some, however,
have not been given the authority by their state legislatures to
review and deny unjustified increases. We believe that a federal
backstop could help encourage these legislatures to provide that
“It is absolutely critical that the state role in assuring the
solvency of health plans and promoting competitive markets be
preserved,” said Sandy Praeger, Chair of the NAIC Health Insurance
and Managed Care Committee and Kansas Insurance Commissioner.
“Protecting consumers from high premiums remains a priority, but it
is even more important to protect them from insolvency.”
Vice-Chair of the NAIC Health Insurance and Managed Care
Committee and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario pressed
insurers to support reforms that would reduce the fragmentation of
health insurance pools. “One problem with premium increases is that
rates go up a lot more for some people than for others,” he said,
noting that premiums in a reformed marketplace would be more stable
for all Americans.
Today’s discussion was part of a broader call for the
stabilization of the markets. Key provisions of the President’s
proposal and the bills in Congress would promote this stability by
ending discrimination based upon health status, pooling risk more
broadly, bringing everyone into the market and ensuring that most of
the premium dollar goes to paying claims.