Get Ready for Quick Timeline on Insurance Rates

The Insurance Division has a fast timeline to review the rate proposals from the 16 health insurers eager to participate in the individual and small group market this fall.

Now that 16 insurance companies have filed their proposed rates for the individual and small group market, the Insurance Division is stepping into the picture.

As the Division prepares to announce the public schedule for the rate review process, The Lund Report was able to get a sneak preview, courtesy of Jesse O’Brien, OSPIRG’s healthcare advocate.

Here’s what that schedule looks like:

  • May 8 – The Division announces the public hearing schedule and also posts a premium comparison table showing the rates for different age groups and different regions of the state for the individual marketplace.
  • May 28-June 1 – Public conference calls will be held to discuss the various rates, with the insurance companies, OSPIRG or consumer advocates able to ask for such a conference call. “The purpose of these calls is to clarify any outstanding questions having to do with the filing or the back to forth correspondence between the Division and the insurer,” O’Brien said. The entire filing request and any correspondence can be found on the Insurance Division website.
  • June 8 – The deadline for OSPIRG to review the rate proposals and the insurance companies to respond to any outstanding questions.
  • June 17 – The Insurance Division releases the preliminary rates for the individual and small group market.
  • June 23-25 – Public hearings will be held in Salem on the preliminary rates.
  • June 25 – The public comment period ends at 5 p.m.
  • July 1 – The Division announces its final decision on the rate requests.

Some of the proposed rates are the largest Oregon has seen in years, O’Brien said, while, at the same time, the Insurance Division is changing the review process, creating more public dialogue and a more in-depth rigorous review

“We’re going from evidentiary hearings this year to more sentencing hearings, and OSPIRG is going to be watchdogging the process more closely and putting the process to the test, to see if the Division can live up to its promise of keeping rates under control. As far as I know, no other state is doing anything like this.”

Since 2011, OSPIRG has been analyzing the insurance rate requests, after the Division committed $500,000 for such an endeavor, the revenue coming from a $5 million federal grant made available to Oregon through the Affordable Care Act. Thus far, OSPIRG has billed the state $150,000, with the majority of those dollars spent on actuarial expenditures.

Those grant dollars have also been spent revamping the Division’s website, hiring new staff to improve the rate review process and revamping the meeting location of public hearings to allow for live streaming.

The Division also intends to use the all payer all claims data base developed by the Oregon Health Authority during the rate review process to validate what insurers are saying about rising healthcare costs, O’Brien has learned.

“Now the state will be able to get information directly from the claims data base and track the cost drivers and see what insurance companies are doing to bring down the costs,” he said.

Diane can be reached at [email protected].

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