Healthcare consumers win again in Kansas, Oklahoma

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By Consumers Union on Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Despite their requests to soften its implementation, health insurance companies in Kansas and Oklahoma will have to immediately comply with the Affordable Care Act’s rule that they spend at least 80% of their customers’ premiums on healthcare bills, not on overhead and profits.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that implementing the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule would not cause insurers in either state to stop offering plans to people who buy insurance on their own.

It’s no secret that the Affordable Care Act has been politically polarizing. But although Oklahoma’s conservative insurance commissioner, John Doak, blasted the decision, his Republican counterpart in Kansas, Sandy Praeger, took a different view, stating:

“I certainly understand why it was done and I think that’s good: the reason behind it is to make sure companies are not charging high premiums just to enhance their bottom lines, but to make sure people are actually getting value for that premium dollar.”

Consumers Union supports the MLR rule to make sure consumers get the most out of their premium dollars. While we await HHS’s decision on similar requests from Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina, we’re encouraged that the agency has sided with consumers in Oklahoma and Kansas to promote fairness in the health insurance industry.

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