What is Premium Rate Review?
Premium rate review would require health insurers to submit their rate increases and justifications to the Commissioner's office before the rates take effect.
Across the country, unjustified premium increases have been a driving force in the rapidly rising cost of health care. As a nation, we rely on fair, open competition among health insurers to ensure our health care dollars are used efficiently. However, we lack reliable, public information about how health insurers set their premium rates -- information consumers could use in making their purchasing decisions.
Currently, Montana law does not require insurance companies to provide any information or justification for their premium increases. As a result, Montanans have no way of knowing if their premium dollars are being used efficiently to deliver the highest quality care. Premium rate review will give Montana families and small businesses the information they need to make educated decisions when looking for health insurance.
Why does Montana need Premium Rate Review?
Premium rate review will protect Montana's families and businesses from unreasonable premium hikes. With premium rate review authority, the Commissioner of Insurance would evaluate and disapprove unjustified, unfair, or discriminatory premium increases filed by insurance companies before they take effect. Oversight at a state level would give consumers and companies direct access to experts at the Commissioner's office who understand our communities and our markets.
Montana is currently one of only three states that do not receive any information from health insurers about their premiums. The Commissioner continues to work toward establishing state-based premium rate review to protect Montana consumers from unreasonable premium increases and ensure Montana has an open and competitive health insurance market.
What has CSI done to promote premium rate review in Montana?
The Commissioner is charged with educating Montanans about their new rights and benefits outlined in the Affordable Care Act, including premium rate review. The Commissioner actively promotes premium rate review across the state, and with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Commissioner has enlisted several nonprofit organizations to assist with direct community outreach.