South Carolina is taking the first steps to establishing a working health insurance exchange programs. The state is using money it received from the federal government, an initiative to assist in the formation of exchanges, to build a website that will monitor health insurance rate increases.
According to state officials, the website will act as a way for consumers to obtain more information on policies. It will also be used to stem the tide of what state officials consider “unreasonable rate hikes.”
The state received more than $1 million in federal funding to be used toward the establishment of an exchange. The website will play a vital role in the progress of an exchange as it will provide the foundation. Residents will be able to browse a comprehensive database that holds information on historical health insurance rates as well as keeps track of new proposals coming from the state’s insurers.
Part of the grant will go toward the hiring of a consulting actuary. The third party will review all individual and group insurance rates to determine whether or not they are reasonable. David Black, director of South Carolina’s Department of Insurance, says that both the website and consulting agency will bring much needed transparency to the state’s insurance industry.
Currently, there is no way for the public to monitor the state’s rate review process. The new website is being designed to remedy that.