News Release

New Rules on Insurance Premium Hikes Will Protect Consumers

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, May 20 - Statement by U.S. PIRG Health Care Advocate Larry McNeely on regulations released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the review of unreasonable health insurance premium rate increases.

 “For too long, insurers have been able to hit consumers with double-digit premium increases, with no guarantee that the hikes were justified. By giving consumers more information about what’s behind premium hikes and requiring insurers to justify rate increases, these new rules will help protect consumers from rising costs.

“Under the new rules, starting in September, rate increases of over 10% will be reviewed by the states, or by federal regulators in states that don’t have the authority or capacity to conduct reviews. Insurers will have to make their rate filings, and their justifications for them, available to the public. Consumers will also be informed if the review finds the rate increase to be unreasonable.

“With premiums continuing to rise, consumers deserve to know if their insurer is ripping them off. Strong rules in states like Oregon have already saved consumers millions of dollars. With these new rules in place, it’s time that other states follow Oregon’s example.”

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups, is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization. For more information, visit http://www.uspirg.org.

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