GOP wants more information on premiums under ObamaCare

ADVERTISEMENT
Republicans pressed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday to release rate information for the federally run exchanges — including states where the figures probably won't be as helpful for the administration.

HHS has said it will release rates for the federally run exchanges in September and is currently negotiating with insurance companies.

"These negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors, without assurances that a fair process has been observed or that the negotiations will result in better insurance products for consumers," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Sebelius.

The letter was led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate's health committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"Delaying the release of premium information until September will only serve to limit the amount of time individuals and families have to budget for the substantially higher insurance costs many will face," the lawmakers wrote.

So far, the administration has mostly gotten good news from state rate filings. In California, the average premium came in well below initial estimates. And New York regulators said last week that premiums in the state could fall by 50 percent once policies are available through the exchanges.

On average, across 11 states that have released their rate information, an individual policy sold through the exchanges will cost 18 percent less than a comparable policy on the market today, according to HHS.

But the states that have already released their rate filings are mostly states that already had highly regulated insurance markets. The same positive results might not translate to smaller, more conservative states where the Affordable Care Act's requirements will be a bigger change.