State has been unable to halt the growth of health insurance premiums
Missouri may be falling behind in protecting its residents from significant health insurance rate increases. In 2016, insurance policies are set to become more expensive nationwide due proposals from insurers. Typically, state regulators investigate rate increase proposals in order to determine whether or not they are needed. In Missouri, however, regulators are not tasked to investigate rate proposals. Instead, this burden falls to the federal government, which may be leaving consumers open to significant rate increases that could be avoided.
Consumer advocacy group notes that the state lacks appropriate regulation
The Consumer Council of Missouri notes that the state is somewhat unique, as insurance companies do not have to file their rate increase proposals. The state also has no laws in place to prevent excessive rate hikes. This means that health insurance coverage can become very expensive in Missouri in a relatively short amount of time. Without adequate regulation, consumers may face serious financial issues that could prevent them from affording their insurance coverage.
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HHS to review rate increases coming to Missouri
Several groups, including the Consumers Council of Missouri, have petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review the rates in the state. The agency has agreed to do so for rate increases that will affect health insurance coverage coming from the state’s exchange. If federal regulators find that the rate increases are unreasonable, they will either be rejected or revised and this information will be posted by the HHS as well as the insurers affected by the decision.
Insurers seek to recover from losses by raising premiums
Many insurers have reported significant growth in earning, but they are also seeing growing losses due to the expanding frequency of medical claims. Some companies are arguing that new customers are costing more to cover than had been expected. As a result, higher premiums are needed across the nation. In Missouri, these rates could rise by an average of 19%. Some residents may see larger increases, depending on where they live and what type of coverage they have.