New website allows users to watch rate increases for health insurance

Online Health InsuranceWeb users across the United States can use a new federal website to watch the status of a health insurer in order to determine whether or not that company has increased its rates, and may view the insurer’s justification for doing so.

According to the deputy director for oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services, Steve Larsen, the data now available on this website is information that was primarily unavailable before the site’s launch. There were only a few states that offered rate increases on their official websites. However, this has now changed, as all health insurers are required to file information with the HHS as a result of the health care reform in 2010.

The URL for this service is:

Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius said that the department is putting the justification for insurance rate hikes under greater scrutiny, and in this effort, is working to make sure that any decisions that are made are justified and are open to the public to see. She added that “This is just a start, and over time we will be reporting more of these requests.”

The HHS announcement follows closely on the heels of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s findings that employer-sponsored premiums for a family (of four) plan have risen by 9 percent in 2011.

Equally, a Barclays Capital Equity Research report has demonstrated that between January and March of this year, thirteen out of the leading fourteen healthcare insurance companies surpassed their estimates for earnings-per-share, and that the average earnings for those companies were 46 percent greater than their forecasts.

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