Agency To Scrutinize Health Insurance Rate Increases

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Insurance rate increases are under the microscope, with change possibly afoot. The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin in September to review health insurance rate increases higher than 10% in an evaluation required under the Affordable Care Act. The agency says it will examine rate increases in seven states that lack the authority to regulate health insurance rates for individuals and small groups; these include Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Wyoming. In an additional three states—Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—it will review only those rates affecting small groups.
Nationally, health insurance rates for families and small businesses have more than doubled during the past decade, according to CMS.

In 2010, the average annual premium for an individual was $5,049, while the premium for family coverage was $13,770. Most states have received federal grant funds to improve their rate review process.