Obama administration uses health law powers to call out rate hikes in nine states

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Thursdays review criticized proposed rate hikes in nine states: Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The rate hikes would affect more than 42,000 people.

Separately, HHS released a new report showing that in the past nine months since HHS began reviewing proposed health insurance rate increases, health insurers have proposed fewer double-digit rate increases. According to the report, in the last quarter of 2011 alone, states reported that premium increases dropped by 4.5 percent.

A recent survey of health plans by Aon Hewitt found that, for 2011, health plans reported estimated increases due to the health law of 4.7 percent for individual policies, 1.5 percent for small group plans and 0.8 percent for large group plans.