Insurance Companies

Yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added to the list of benefits we’re already seeing from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as the new healthcare law, announcing that premium increases in nine states have been deemed “unreasonable” after a review by independent experts.

The ACA’s rate review program posts all double-digit increases online, along with the insurance company’s justification and the state or federal decision on whether the increase is reasonable. So far, 186 increases affecting more than 1.3 million people have been posted for public scrutiny.

HHS also released a report showing the effects of the rate review program to date. After just 6 months, fewer insurance companies are requesting double-digit rate hikes, and in many states, “consumers are seeing rate increases slow-down or disappear altogether.”

Several states have also invoked their power to limit excessive rate increases, and many have used assistance from the healthcare reform law to strengthen their own review processes. These kinds of results show that transparency in the health insurance marketplace helps hold insurance companies accountable.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the ACA’s constitutionality, Consumers Union remains committed to making sure consumers have clear and useful information about the health law. Our new guide released this week, The Affordable Care Act: What you and your family need to know, is a great way to make sure you’re getting the facts.


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