Sebelius: Insurance increases unjustified

Sept. 10, 2010 at 6:59 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says U.S. insurers are engaging in misinformation and unjustified healthcare coverage rate increases.

In a letter to America's Health Insurance Plans, the national association of health insurers, Sebelius called on AHIP members to "stop using scare tactics and misinformation to falsely blame premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act."

"It has come to my attention that several health insurer carriers are sending letters to their enrollees falsely blaming premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act. I urge you to inform your members that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Sibelius said in the letter.

"The Affordable Care Act includes a number of provisions to provide Americans with access to health coverage -- no lifetime limits, no rescissions except in cases of fraud and coverage of most adult children up to age 26. These provisions were fully supported by AHIP and its member companies."

The analysis of industry and academic experts shows any potential premium impact from the new consumer protections and increased quality provisions under the Affordable Care Act will be minimal -- 1 percent to 2 percent.

"I want AHIP's members to be put on notice: the administration, in partnership with states, will not tolerate unjustified rate hikes in the name of consumer protections," Sibelius said.

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