Insurers seek big rate hikes less often, feds report
WASHINGTON — Health insurers are seeking double-digit increases in rates for individuals much less frequently than four years ago, according to a government report released on Friday.
Researchers at the Department of Health and Human Services examined data from 15 states and found that in 2010, 74 percent of the time, health insurers sought an increase of more than 10 percent in the rates they charge for individual health coverage. By 2012, double-digit increases constituted just 35 percent of rate hike requests.
Preliminary data for 2013, which covers 10 states, show that only 14 percent of rate-increase requests call for a double-digit bump.
The study covers rate increases that could affect 2.6 million and 2.7 million people, about one-third of the overall individual insurance market.
While the study is not comprehensive, researchers consider it a good indication of the direction of health care costs in this market.
The Health and Human Services report credits the decline to a provision of the Affordable Care Act that gives states more power to scrutinize rate increases. Beginning in 2011, the health care law required state regulators to review each proposed rate increase and determine whether it is “reasonable” or “unreasonable.”
“The sharp drop in requests for increases of 10 percent or more is most likely the result of the increased scrutiny,” the report states.
Another possibility: There's been a big slowdown in the overall rate of health care cost growth. After years of growing faster than the economy, starting in 2009 health care costs began to grow at a slower rate, now often equaling the growth rate of the economy.
HHS researchers dismissed this contention, noting they did not find a similarly large drop in the rate increases being requested by insurers in the group market, which includes policies purchased by employers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ground Zero ship dated to 1773
- IRS calls right-wing Republicans ‘crazies’ in emails
- 6 narcotics officers charged with racketeering
- House’s vote to sue Obama is historic foray into checks, balances
- Tea Party opposition threatens House GOP’s border bill
- Law enforcement, intelligence agencies want to ‘like’ you on social media
- Swift action expected of VA’s new secretary
- Flat-out ‘miracle’ spares women on railroad span
- Witnesses added for Benghazi hearing
- Charges against Fla. mom raise ire
- N.Y. opera proposes mediation as lockout looms