CMS Publishes Proposed Consumer Disclosure Notices Detailing Required Health Insurer Rate Increase Justification Disclosures

 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 7, 2011 published proposed consumer disclosure notices that it proposes to require insurers proposing rate increases over 10 percent to electronically file in furtherance of CMS’ implementation of the Affordable Care Act premium rate review regulation published by HHS in December of 2010.  The proposed consumer disclosure notices can be found here listed under “CMS-10379.”

Like the premium rate review regulation, the proposed notification requirements would apply to non-grandfathered group or individual insurance plans in the individual and small group markets.

Under the premium rate review regulation, rate increases by insurers for non-grandfathered group or individual health insurance plans that exceed a specified threshold amount are subject to review by either State insurance officials or HHS if the State does not have an effective process for reviewing rates.  The proposed threshold for the first year is 10%.  After 2011, a state-specific threshold will be set for disclosure of rate increases, using data and trends that better reflect cost trends particular to that state.  According to CMS’, the review of rates under the rate review regulation could begin as early as July 2011.

CMS contemplates that the proposed consumer disclosure notices published March 7, 2011 will ‘help consumers know what their insurance companies are proposing while the rate increase requests are being reviewed.  The notices would provide some basic information about health insurance rate increases and their review, as well as detailed information about the specific increase that an insurer has proposed. Consumers would also be able to see what the insurance company believes is driving the increase in premiums and how much of the increase would go to profits and administrative expenses. CMS intends to make the information provided by insurers in the notices available to consumers on CMS’ website.  According to CMS, once rates begin being reviewed, HHS will work to post information on proposed rates as quickly as possible.

For Help Responding To Affordable Care Act or Other Health Plan Rules

The proposed premium rate review and associated consumer disclosure notice requirements are part of the rapidly evolving federal and state rules, court decisions, enforcement actions and other developments that require quick action by health plans, health insurers and their sponsors and administrators.  If you need assistance in auditing or assessing, updating or defending your health plan or policies, documents, practices or conduct, or other labor and employment, employee benefit, compensation, privacy and data security, or other related practices, please contact the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer here or at (469)767-8872.

The Chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Committee, a Council Representative on the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, Government Affairs Committee Legislative Chair for the Dallas Human Resources Management Association, and past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Ms. Stamer works, publishes and speaks extensively on Affordable Care Act and other health and other employee benefit, insurance, human resources and health care matters.

Nationally and internationally known for her leading edge work on health benefit and insurance matters, Ms. Stamer has counseled, represented and trained employers and other employee benefit plan sponsors, plan administrators and fiduciaries, insurers and financial services providers, third party administrators, human resources and employee benefit information technology vendors and others privacy and data security, fiduciary responsibility, plan design and administration and other compliance, risk management and operations matters for more than 23 years.  She also is recognized for her publications, industry leadership, workshops and presentations on health benefit reform and other related health and pension, human resources, insurance, privacy and health care concerns.  She also regularly conducts training on these and other related matters for a broad range of organizations including the Association of State and Territorial Healthcare Organizations (ASTHO), the Los Angeles County Health Department, a multitude of health plans and their sponsors, health care providers, the American Bar Association, SHRM, the Society for Professional Benefits Administrators and many others Her insights on these and other matters appear in the Bureau of National Affairs, Spencer Publications, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Business Journal, the Houston Business Journal, and many other national and local publications. For additional information about Ms. Stamer and her experience or to access other publications by Ms. Stamer see here or contact Ms. Stamer directly.

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©2011 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer.  Non-exclusive right to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.

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