UnitedHealth leads insurers to publicize rate hike filings

After a battle over making health insurance rate filings public, UnitedHealth and five other insurers have agreed to stop fighting that their rate increase requests are trade secretes.

UnitedHealth was the first insurer operating in New York to voluntarily release proprietary details about why it wants a premium hike, reports the Wall Street Journal. Five other insurers--Aetna Health, EmblemHealth, Empire HealthChoice, Excellus Health Plan, and HealthNow--followed suit a few days later.

The companies will provide their rate increase application, including the amount of administrative expenses and profits, a list of all benefit changes, and a summary of the money they spent in the last two years on medical claims to the state Department of Financial Services, which will then make the information public on its website, the New York Daily News reports.

"This is a great day for transparency and the public's right to know how their health insurance premiums are set," Financial Services Department Superintendent Benjamian Lawsky said. "Transparency will promote competition and allow the public to make effective comments as part of the rate review process."

Four insurers are still refusing to publicly release their rate filings--Capital District Physicians' Health Plan, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Independent Health, and MVP Health Care.

Last month, Lawsky ordered that the filings be made public, prompting 10 major insurance companies to object, alleging the disclosures would provide competitors with an unfair advantage, reduce competition, and raise prices even higher, according to the New York Times.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- check out the Wall Street Journal article
- see the New York Daily News article

Related Articles:
Rate hike justifications are 'trade secrets,' insurers say
Can bad publicity lower premiums?
Experts share regulatory strategies for justifying rate increases