Debra Judy, Policy Director

It was a full house at yesterday’s Health Insurance Rate Forum hosted by the Division of Insurance.  The purpose of the forum was for the Division and carriers to explain to the public how they set their health insurance rates and to allow consumers to ask questions of those carriers.  Individuals, many from the mountain communities, shared the hardship of high insurance premiums on working families.

We applaud the Division for taking this unprecedented action, and for the carriers’ willingness to participate.  We see this forum as a positive first step toward meaningfully engaging consumers in the rate review process.  CCHI has a long history of working to improve rate review.  Back in 2008, we helped pass the Fair Accountable Insurance Rates Act that requires prior approval of health insurance rate increases.  Since then, CCHI has commented upon proposed rate increases and worked to educate consumers about this process.

Moving forward, we hope there will be future opportunities for consumers to engage in and impact public rate hearings before rates are finalized.  Giving consumers advance notice of proposed rate increases that could affect them may result in even more participation in the future.  We believe public involvement in the rate review process can also be improved if there is more transparency into the carriers’ rate filing and a more user friendly way for consumers to access those filings and submit the comments.

Judging from the turnout at yesterday’s meeting, there seems to be substantial public interest in being part of this conversation. Thank you to the Division for starting this process; we hope the momentum continues to build to improve consumer engagement and understanding of rates. 

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