New Hampshire insurance regulators are set to receive $3.56 million in federal grants over the next three years in accordance with the federal health care law. The state’s Insurance Department is welcoming the money with open arms, hoping to utilize the funds to help some of the regulatory shortfalls that have befallen the state in recent years. While regulators have yet to determine the breadth of their plans for the funds, officials have noted that some of the money will be used to instill more transparency in the state’s insurance industry.
Regulators will be using a significant portion of the grant money to rework the rate review process and make it more efficient. State regulators have been battling rampant rate increase proposals from the insurance companies operating in the state. A better rate review process will help regulators keep insurance premiums from spiraling out of control. The new system will also invite residents of the state to comment on the rate proposals and seek justification from the companies seeking higher rates.
The Insurance Department may also seek to hire a team of insurance consultants that will help small businesses explore their options for insurance. Regulators fear that, if left out in some way, small businesses may resort to self-insurance as a way to circumvent new federal laws that change insurance requirements for businesses, which will make small-group insurance more expensive overall.