Washington state awarded $1 million to increase transparency of health insurance rates

Kreidler’s grant proposal for the first cycle includes two key projects:

Enhancing its IT and rate filing system to accept more detailed rate information from health insurers. The enhancements will include the ability to report this detailed information to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Increasing transparency for consumers on how health insurance premiums are determined. This enhancement includes building a consumer care website where the public can see the average rates requested and accepted by year and type of market.
The Affordable Care Act provides states with $250 million in Health Insurance Premium Review Grants over five years to help create a more level playing field by improving how they review proposed health insurance premium increases and holding insurance companies accountable for unjustified premium increases.

Projects awarded funding through the Cycle 1 grant are expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2011.

Currently, the Insurance Commissioner’s Office collects a limited amount of rate information that can be publicly disclosed. Kreidler’s office will seek legislation next year to maintain its authority over the individual market and to increase the public’s access to additional rate information, such as how much of the premium change is for claims costs, administrative costs and profit. If he succeeds, that information also will be available to the public through the new consumer care website.