Carriers concerned about costs

AHIP is calling for state officials to beware of unintended consequences. AHIP is calling for state officials to beware of unintended consequences.

Health insurers are asking a group of state regulators to warn colleagues against the risk that well-intentioned moves could accidentally jack up the cost of coverage.

William Weller, a consultant to America's Health Insurance Plans, talked about the danger of unintended consequences in a comment sent to several National Association of Insurance Commissioners panels.

Weller asked regulators on the panels to tell states to avoid considering rate caps and other efforts to fight rate increases in a vacuum.

When states look at efforts to hold down rates, they should think about "the potential impact of additional costs any specific strategies may create, as well as the impact of possible savings that may accrue," Weller wrote.

AHIP would like to see regulators impose a moratorium on new insurer or employer taxes or fees, such as those on alternative reinsurance programs, which could increase costs, Weller said.

States also could do their part to hold down costs by imposing a moratorium on new benefits mandates, reporting requirements and changes in operating processes, Weller said.

Weller sent the comment to the NAIC's Rate Increase Mitigation Subgroup, the Health Actuarial Task Force and the Health Care Reform Actuarial Working Group.

The panels are working on a "rate increase mitigation strategies" discussion paper. In the paper, the NAIC would give state regulators advice about how to keep the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from leading to big health insurance price increases.

The Health Actuarial Task Force and Health Care Reform Actuarial Working Group are reviewing the draft paper this week.

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