Monday, June 7, 2010

HHS announces $51 million in grants to improve insurance rate reviews

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced that it's making $51 million in grants available to states as part of a new $250 million program "to create and strengthen insurance rate review processes."

From HHS' press release:
“This is an important step in putting consumers back in control of their health care,” said (HHS) Secretary (Kathleen) Sebelius. “These new grants will help states protect consumers and small employers by holding insurers accountable for unreasonable insurance rate increases that have made coverage unaffordable for many American families."
Here in Washington state, the insurance commissioner's office has some rate review authority already, and it can make a significant difference. In Washington personal auto insurance from 2000 through 2008, for example, the rates we approved were a total of $217 million lower than what the insurers had originally requested. For homeowners' coverage, the savings over the same period was nearly $37 million.

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