Calif. Launches Online Tool for Health Insurance Rate Filings

July 27, 2010

Furthering his commitment increase public scrutiny of health insurance rate filings, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that consumers can now be notified via e-mail when new health insurance rate filings for the individual market are made.

“We want as many people as possible scouring these rate filings to ensure they are mistake-free,” said Commissioner Poizner. “The e-mail notification tool will expand access to these documents by informing the public of when there are new filings to peruse. This additional analysis, in conjunction with scrutiny by the Department of Insurance’s in house actuaries and independent actuaries retained by the Department, will help ensure that consumers are protected and insurers are spending 70 percent of premiums on medical benefits, as required by state law.”

To sign up, consumers should visit http://www.insurance.ca.gov/email-updates/ and select which of the Department of Insurance’s updates they would like to receive.

Commissioner Poizner announced recently that he wanted to create unprecedented transparency by posting all health insurance rate filings for the individual market on the California Department of Insurance’s Web site. They can be found at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/IndHlthRateFilings/. Interested parties can also submit comments that will be reviewed by California Department of Insurance (CDI) lawyers and actuaries.

He also recently announced that the rate filings of California’s four largest insurers in the individual health insurance market will be given an additional level of scrutiny by having them analyzed by an outside actuary. With today’s filings, the remaining large insurer that does not have an active filing with CDI is Health Net.

Unlike auto and homeowners insurance rates, health insurance rates do not require prior approval by the Department of Insurance. However, state law requires that 70 cents of every dollar collected in health insurance premiums be spent on medical benefits. This additional actuarial review will scrutinize each filing to make sure companies comply with the 70 percent threshold.

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