Colo. Using Healthcare Reforms to Reject Premium Hikes

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 08:42 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Colorado officials say they have the power now under state and federal healthcare reform laws to reject what they consider unreasonable or unsubstantiated insurance premium hikes that are out of line with average increases, the Denver Post reported Monday.
According to the newspaper, the state recently rejected an increase request of 24 percent from Cigna for 2013 the state Division of Insurance found could not be justified by the company and was way out of line with the average rate hikes of other companies.
One consumer group cited in the Post account also noted the Cigna increase in four mountain counties in particular would have resulted "in rate shock and financial hardships," affecting as many as 21,000 lives covered by company policies.
The rate increase was "extremely high compared to other carriers," Tom Abel, supervisor of rate reviews for the state Division of Insurance, told the Post.
"They didn't support anything. We didn't even know if this was an educated guess or just a guess," he added.
Abel told the newspaper the state's rejection of the request was "a perfect example of the system working."
In 2008, Colorado passed a healthcare reform law that gave the state new powers of "prior approval" for insurance rate requests. Before then, companies could simply raise their rates, without filing a formal request.
In 2010, passage of the Affordable Care Act, referred to now as Obamacare, also gave the state new powers to review rate hikes of more than 10 percent a year.

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