Comptroller Kevin Lembo – a longtime supporter of public input and transparency in health insurance rate cases – praised the General Assembly for adopting a measure that will require public input before large health insurance rate increases are approved.
An Act Concerning the Rate Approval Process for Certain Health Insurance Policies requires that, upon request by the state Healthcare Advocate or Attorney General, the Department of Insurance (DOI) hold a public symposium allowing public comment when considering health insurance rate increases of 10 percent or more.
“Recent history proves that public input is critical in the health insurance rate review process,” Lembo said. “Consumers deserve a voice and level playing when the Department of Insurance reviews rate increases that will significantly impact their lives. This measure – requiring public forums for rate increases of 10 percent or more – recognizes the critical balance between protecting the interests of both businesses and consumers.
“I commend both the Senate and House for overwhelmingly adopting this measure, and urge the Governor to support it.”
The legislation, adopted by the Senate on Monday and then today by the House, would also require the Department of Insurance Commissioner to consider public input in his ruling on a rate increase request. It defines what can be considered an “excessive” rate increase, and requires that all policy holders be notified when a rate increase is requested, and again when rate requests are approved.
Currently, the DOI Commissioner has the sole discretion to decide whether a public forum is held.
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