The state is tightening its reviews of the increasing costs.
Kansas regulators are currently complying with one of the health insurance reforms put into place by President Obama, which require that stricter reviews be made of increases to rates that are greater than 10 percent.
Governor Sam Brownback continues to stand strong against the other provisions of the healthcare law.
To make sure that health insurance rates are kept under better control, the Kansas Department of Insurance has increased the number of steps that are taken in the review process for requests to boost coverage rates by over 10 percent. This is a requirement of the Affordable Care Act and has been in place since September 2011. It has since been reinforced by the approval of the Supreme Court.
Previous health insurance rate regulations would have required strict reviews only beyond 12 percent.
Though similar processes were in place in Kansas, the health insurance rates would have had to increase by 12 percent or more to require the tighter review process, instead of the current 10 percent.
According to the director of the accidental health division of the state insurance department, Linda Sheppard, who is also the Affordable Care Act project manager, “Kansas always looked very, very closely at rate increase filings.” She added that “If we decide we don’t think it’s a reasonable rate, we will work with the company to try to get it adjusted down.”
The department head is an elected commissioner. At the moment, that position is held by Republican Sandy Praeger, who is not a part of the executive branch.
Sheppard went on to explain that the state has always attempted to make it more challenging for companies to raise health insurance rates by more than 10 percent. For that reason, it was not that much of a dramatic change within the state’s processes for compliance with the federal law. It was simply a matter of moving the increase percentage down from 12 to 10 percent.
Since the health insurance provision went into effect last year, the state has received four requests to increase rates by more than 10 percent.
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