Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 45 states and the District of Columbia “will receive $1 million in grant funds to help improve the review of proposed health insurance premium increases, take action against insurers seeking unreasonable rate hikes, and ensure consumers receive value for their premium dollars.” The $46 million are part of the $250 million in rate review grant dollars authorized by the new health care law. Indeed, interest is so high that states that oppose the health law applied for grants. As the Wonk Room points out, 19 of the 22 states that are suing the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care law will receive $1 million each to improve their rate review capabilities. Below is a sampling:
— ARIZONA: “The State intends to improve their filing review process by hiring an actuarial consultant to review 95% of submissions for compliance and make recommendations regarding whether filings are unjustified or excessive.”
— VIRGINIA: “Virginia will expand the information required to be submitted with rate filings and will develop a procedures manual for the review of rate filings.”
— FLORIDA: “The State will expand the scope to include large group and out-of-State products.”
The Wonk Room argues that this disconnect highlights the growing divide between state health commissioners’ implementation efforts and political rhetoric.