Starting Thursday, state and federal regulators will review double-digit rate increase proposals from health insurers to determine whether the premium hike is reasonable.
The rate review program, enacted under the Affordable Care Act, requires health insurers to submit a written request for a rate increase of 10 percent or more to independent reviewers. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will review rates in nine states that lack the authority to adequately review rates. The remaining 41 states will conduct their own reviews.
Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy organization, however, doesn't believe publicity alone will be enough for insurers to end unreasonable rate hikes. The group released a statement Thursday, saying the federal government is relying on public disclosure to shame health insurers into reducing rates.
"Betting affordable health coverage on a humbled insurance industry is too much wishful thinking," advocates with the organization said. "Today's new rules will not prevent unreasonable premium increases because they do not give insurance regulators the authority to reject increases that cannot be justified, said the group."