Politics
FILE - In this May 19, 2011, file photo Health and Human Services Secretary Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., leave a news conference about GOP Medicare cuts on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats are hitting the reset button on health care for next year’s elections. Weary of getting pounded over the new health overhaul law, President Barack Obama and his party are changing the subject to Medicare. Obama signaled last week he’s on board with the shift.(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File) FILE - In this May 19, 2011, file photo Health and Human Services Secretary Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., leave a news conference about GOP Medicare cuts on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats are hitting the reset button on health care for next year’s elections. Weary of getting pounded over the new health overhaul law, President Barack Obama and his party are changing the subject to Medicare. Obama signaled last week he’s on board with the shift.(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)  

Companies now required to publicly justify rates under Obamacare

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Insurance companies that don’t acquiesce to the president’s healthcare demands are soon in for a rude awakening: The Obama administration announced Friday that companies seeking to raise health premium rates by more than 10 percent will be exploited on a government website.

“This year, in every State and for the first time ever, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10% or more,” Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a blog post announcing the new policy. “Today, we posted the first set of explanations from insurance companies.”

Sebelius said the “rate review” process forces companies to publicly justify what the Obama administration considers exorbitant increases in health care premium prices, in a public, government-run forum.

“We, in partnership with States, are taking a good, hard look at why insurance companies are seeking to raise your rates, why your premiums might be going up, and making sure these decisions are public and justified,” Sebelius said.

She added that HHS “update the site with more information from other insurers as it comes in so you can see why insurance companies think they should raise your rates.”

The president’s health care overhaul also imposes new Medical Loss Ratio requirements on health care companies, forcing them to spend between 80 and 85 percent of their incomes on health care services. Sebelius said the reason for these new rules is make sure companies spend on health services “instead of on advertising or big CEO salaries.”

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