Illinois to more closely probe health insurers’ rate hike requests

IFA Webnews reports:

The Illinois Insurance Department is imposing new reporting requirements for health insurers seeking to raise rates, making it one of a number of states using federal funds to dig deeper into proposed premium increases.

The department received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August, specifically to review more closely “all unreasonable health insurance premium increases,” according to a statement from Illinois regulators. The reviews are part of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the landmark bill overhauling health care in the U.S.

“Unlike most states, Illinois law does not afford employers and families protection against premium increases that exceed both national averages and rates of medical inflation,” said Illinois Department of Insurance Director Michael T. McRaith in a statement. “Under Gov. [Pat] Quinn’s direction, the department is committed to improving the transparency of health insurance pricing in Illinois which, in the absence of reform, can be both opaque and unreasonable. The enhanced reporting requirements announced today will lead to better and more reliable information for Illinois’ families, employers and policymakers.”

The reporting process outlined by the department requires health insurers to submit rate changes and information justifying any rate increases, beginning Dec. 1.

By Feb. 1, 2011, health insurers will be able to submit the required information electronically through the department’s website, officials said.

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