HHS to Investigate South Carolina Exchange Premium Estimates

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HHS plans to scrutinize estimates from the South Carolina Department of Insurance predicting premium rates will increase considerably when the new federally facilitated health care exchanges take effect, according to a Charleston Regional Business Journal report.

The insurance department stated earlier this month that premiums will increase by 50 percent to 70 percent for individual health plans and by 10 percent to 20 percent for small-group policies, according to the report.

At a news conference at the South Carolina Hospital Association, HHS Director of External Affairs Anton Gunn said his agency wants to see the evidence behind the state's premium estimates, according to the report.

Other states where the federal government will facilitate insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act starting Oct. 1 have predicted that premiums will skyrocket. Ohio forecasted premium increases averaging 41 percent for individual consumers purchasing coverage through the exchange, and Florida similarly predicted individual insurance premium increases of up to 40 percent. Mississippi has stated individual health insurance plans sold through the federally facilitated exchange could cost three times as much as consumers currently pay for coverage

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius criticized the predictions earlier this month, calling them inaccurate. HHS doesn't plan to release final health insurance rates for the federally run exchanges until September, so the information some states are currently distributing about the rates is erroneous, Secretary Sebelius said.

More Articles on Health Insurance Exchanges:
Health Insurers Limit Provider Choices to Lower Premium Costs
MGMA Expresses Concern Over Unpaid Premium Grace Period
Essential Benefit Mandate Doesn't Cause Major Changes, Price Hikes, Study Finds

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