There is a ballot measure in California coming in November dealing with health insurance rate setting. Have any other state Leagues taken action on ballot measures or legislation about rate setting? If so, what position did you use to do so?

Helen Hutchison

LWV California


Active involvement in rate setting issues

I would like to keep informed about premiums and deductibles in other states.  As you know, the rates are what the State Insurance Dept approves, but the premiums and deductibles are an entirely different thing.  Somebody could get a 13% premium increase and a $6300 deductible on a package that the Insurance Dept approved a 5% increase on.  The connection between the two has no transparency to the average consumer.  In Delaware, it's just the rate review going on.  I have tried to contact StateReforum and Commonwealth and Consumers Union about this but, I am dissappointed to say, I have received no response. I believe California is more pro-active than other states on this issue.  Please keep us informed and I will do the same as best I can.

Another issue - The site says "If a premium   increase is greater than 10%, the insurer is required to justify such requests in public for consumers to see before the rate takes effect".  Is this true?  Or are the words rate and premium being mixed up? 


Health Insurance Rate Setting

I can't answer your questions about

My original question -- and continued interest -- is in what League positions there might be that speak to health insurance rate setting.

I understand your concern about what is going on in Delaware. We have League members who are equally concerned here in California. However, we are limited in League action by the lack of League position.

Helen Hutchison

LWV California

Helen Hutchison

LWV California

League position on rate setting

I don't think there is a national League position on rate setting.  I would like to first make sure I understand what the ACA rules are on rate review and public involvement in that process.  Many states got grants -- DE got $1 million -- to improve their rate review process.  I think we need to know what the states are doing to improve their rate review and involve the public.  That includes knowing what the rules are on public disclosure if the rate (or the premium - not sure which) is over a 10% increase.  But nobody can look at a rate and know what their premium and deductible will be so while the rate is being reviewed, the public is not paying attention. Until they know what their premium and deductible will be, they have no actionable information to comment on.  Also, there is a big time crunch right now because the insurers and state insurance department reviewers are racing the clock to have all this ready for open enrollment on November 15.

Standard procedure for the League is to deliberate before any position is taken. And usually the League's position is a broad statement of principle.  Rate setting is more down in the weeds.  I find myself alone most of the time when I want to discuss this.  I would like to keep an open discussion on this topic and I hope League members from many different states participate in this format for sharing information and ideas.

Rate review

I am watching the Delaware Dept of Insurance and what they will do about posting the new rates and what will be the mechanism for public input on premium increases.  In the past they have given the public only 7 days to comment on posted rate increases.  I think it should be about 2 months. Also, they are saying they will only post rates  increases of 10% or more.  I think that is wrong. They should post any rate increase.  They can limit a public hearing to only the increases of 10% or more, but I think they have to make public any rate change and allow public written comment. I believe it is important for people to speak up and insist on public input or else the insurance dept will hope that no one notices.

Jo Ann Fields   Kent County League, Dover, DE