Lawmakers want to challenge rate increases coming from state insurers
With several health insurance companies in Wisconsin seeking to raise rates by a significant degree, lawmakers are beginning to take notice and call for action to be taken against large rate hikes. Some insurers have requested rate increased as high as 33%, which is well beyond what many state legislators consider to be justifiable. Now, two legislators have introduced a bill that would challenge significant rate increases such as those Wisconsin is currently seeing.
Large rate increases have not been rejected in Wisconsin since 2011
Per the Affordable Care Act, states must review all rate increase proposals that are 10% or more. The review process is meant ensure that rate increase proposals are based on reasonable cost assumptions coming from insurers. Many insurers are facing greater claims payments and financial losses, which they tend to use as justifying factors for higher insurance rates. Several states have rejected significant rate increases, but Wisconsin has not done so since 2011, when Governor Scott Walker took office.
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The average cost of health insurance coverage continues to go up throughout the state
The average cost of a policy sold through the state’s health insurance exchange this year was $373 a month. This is the fourth highest average premium for coverage in the country and 9% more expensive than coverage was last year. The state’s average health insurance premium is still lower than the national average, but rates in Wisconsin continue to grow, where the national average saw no increase last year.
New legislation will require state agency to hold public hearings on rate increases that are 10% or higher
The new legislation introduced by Representative Deb Kolste and Senator Chris Larson would require insurers to provide policyholders with a 60-day notice concerning rate increases. The legislation would also require the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to hold public hearings concerning rate increase proposals that are 10% or more. This will provide consumers with information concerning rate increases and how higher rates will be affecting them.