Rhode Island’s Superior Court has passed a ruling granting the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Christopher F. Koller, the power to regulate contracts between insurance companies and health care providers. The ruling stems from events that unfolded in 2008 when Koller nullified a contract between Rhode Island’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance company and the Care New England hospital group. The contract would have brought major benefits to the medical group at the expense of consumers, Koller claimed. In response, Care New England filed a suit against the Insurance Commissioner to redact his authority.
Backed by the Superior Court’s ruling, Koller’s new regulatory power can be used to help ensure consumers are not taken advantage of, but it may also hold latent benefits for the state’s insurance industry as well. Blue Cross president and CEO Peter Anduszkiewicz hails the Commissioner’s new authority as an opportunity for the company to make changes to the ways it deals with medical groups. According to Anduszkiewicz, Blue Cross will now be pursuing new deals based on different provisions of the state’s insurance regulations.
Koller has said that he will continue to work to make the insurance industry more consumer friendly without severely impeding the ability of insurers to compete in the market. The commissioner’s new authority will help in this endeavor as he will now be able to regulate the contracts formed between insurers and health care organizations.