HHS pressed to release federal exchange premium rates

Republican lawmakers are pushing the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to disclose premium rate information insurers have submitted to sell policies on the federally-run health insurance exchanges.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) led a group of GOP lawmakers who requested HHS make public its process for negotiating with insurers about their premium rates for the federal exchanges, including any incentives used to compel insurers to amend their rates, they said in a statement.

"We encourage the administration to give the American people as much information as possible so they can plan and prepare, and so that we can continue the necessary oversight," the Republicans said in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to the Washington Times.

Although several states, including California, Oregon and New York, have published premium rates for their own state-run exchanges, HHS hasn't released premium information for the 34 states that will operate a federal exchange. The agency said it would disclose those rates in September because it's still negotiating premium costs with insurers, The Hill's Healthwatch reported.

"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.

To learn more:
- here's the GOP statement
- read the Washington Times article
- see The Hill's Healthwatch article

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