Conservative groups push states to seek waivers

HHS has granted three states' requests for adjusted ratios. Another nine applications are still pending.

Sebelius noted at a press conference Thursday that state insurance commissioners — rather than HHS — defined the services that insurers can classify as medical costs. A blanket request for waivers would undermine rules designed to ensure that policyholders get their money's worth, she said.

"Saying, blanket, 'Everybody should get a waiver' means that they feel that health insurance profits ... should continue to rise and that more and more people should be forced to drop ot of the marketplace," she said.

The conservative groups also urged states to apply for waivers from the healthcare law's restrictions on annual benefit caps. The department has approved more than 1,300 waivers, mostly to companies that are likely to quit offering coverage if they had to provide comprehensive insurance.

Four states — Florida, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee — have received annual limit waivers. According to HHS, some states require insurers to sell plans with specific benefit limits. States that impose such a requirement can apply for a waiver on behalf of the companies that sell the state-mandated policies.