WA Senate OKs health insurance transparency bill

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April 7, 2011

Washington Senate OKs Bill to Make Health Insurance Rate Filings More Transparent

OLYMPIA, WA — By a unanimous vote, the Washington Senate passed HB 1220, a bill that would make health insurance rate filings public and give consumers access to critical information about their health insurance premiums.
“Consumers are left in the dark about why their health insurance rates are rising because current law keeps rate filings confidential,” said Laurie Sobel, senior staff attorney for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “Insurance companies should have nothing to hide when they seek to raise their customer’s premiums. Disclosing this information to the public will help consumers make more informed choices when it comes to their health coverage.”
HB 1220 would enact a number of important reforms, including:
• Makes health insurance rate filings for individual and small group plans available for public inspection 10 days after the Insurance Commissioner determines that a filing is complete. Rate filings contain a health insurer’s explanations and assumptions used in developing premium rates. Filings for new products would be exempted from disclosure for one year or until the next filing.
• Provides a plain-language summary and explanation of an insurer’s rate filing to the public. After the Insurance Commissioner makes a decision on a rate, a summary of the decision must be made available to the public.
Michael McCauley – 415-431-6747, ext 126