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Trustmark's Premium Hikes 'Excessive,' Says HHS

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2012

Cohen said that HHS has made determinations of unreasonable rate increases on six occasions under its new powers, including these five. The sixth was a November review of Everence Insurance's 12% increase for a plan held by nearly 5,000 subscribers in Pennsylvania.   

Three other HHS-ordered actuarial rate reviews, in Montana, Louisiana, and Missouri, resulted in conclusions that the increases were reasonable.

Cohen emphasized that because of its new federal authority to review rate increases in excess of 10%, and because of $250 million in grants to states to set up their own authority to do their own audits, "the number of states with the authority to approve or disapprove rate increases before they take effect has increased from 30 to 37, with several states extending this authority to new markets" since March of 2010.

"It won't surprise you to know that state insurance departments, state governments, would rather review rates in their state than have us do it. Let's be clear," he said.

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