Consumer Engagement Important in Health Insurance Rate Reviews

-AARP Arizona Supports AZ Department of Insurance Work on Issue-

PEORIA, Ariz., Feb. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health insurance companies in Arizona are pursuing double-digit premium increases for more than 30 insurance health plans in the state. 

Officials from AARP Arizona are weighing-in with the Arizona Department of Insurance on the transparency of health insurance plan rate reviews.  The department is currently reviewing the process for rate reviews of health insurance plans.  AARP believes consumers should have the opportunity to be more engaged in the process.

"AARP welcomes the opportunity to work with the Arizona Department of Insurance on this very important issue," said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director. "We are supporting three key points that we hope will be included in the review process."

AARP would like to see proposed rate increases posted online for public comment before the rate increases are considered "reasonable or unreasonable," and that policyholders are notified of potential rate increases before they are classified as such.

"We also think it's important that press releases are issued informing the public of the opportunity to give public comment whenever a significant premium increase for Arizonans is considered by the Department of Insurance," said Mitchell.

In addition, AARP supports the adoption of an alert system similar to that which the state of Minnesota currently uses. "We believe policyholders should be allowed to enroll in an alert system that automatically indicates when rate hikes are submitted for review by the department," Mitchell added. "We think informing policyholders is not only important, but that the notices should be easy to understand, state the implications of the increase and what options are available to policyholders."

The Arizona Department of Insurance is currently gathering comments from various stakeholder groups on this issue.  "AARP strongly supports the opportunity for consumers to be active participants in the insurance market and we applaud the Arizona Department of Insurance for their continued work in this area," said Mitchell.

For more information about AARP in Arizona go to or check out AARP Arizona on Facebook.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Cynthia J. Fagyas
(602) 262-5165