Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says Connecticut’s experience of a massive rate hike by health insurer Anthem could be repeated around the country. Sebelius highlighted significant rate hikes in several states as a warning that the nation must push forward with healthcare reform. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
The Health and Human Services Department has come out with a report on healthcare premiums in an attempt to give fresh momentum to the healthcare debate, ahead of a summit being convened by President Obama next week. Sebelius showcased the 24% rate hike requested by Anthem on individual health plans in Connecticut last year. She says insurers are making families suffer, and yet the premium increases are not justified by higher medical expenses.
“In 2009 alone, at a time when we saw a huge economic downturn, we had insurers, these top 5 insurers, who had $12.2 billion in profit. So to suggest that this is entirely in line with even healthcare costs which clearly still are exceeding typical inflation costs – these profits are wildly excessive.”
Sebelius is pushing for a national medical loss ratio, to try to rein in excessive profit-taking by insurers. She also says she would like to see insurers who post huge rate increases excluded from the new insurance marketplace that healthcare reform would establish.
For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.