State deregulates health insurers but want them to tell customers cost of reforms
The next front in the national battle over health care reform: your mailbox.
A little noticed law passed by state legislators this year deregulates any new health insurance policies for the next two years and requires insurers to send customers a disclosure form spelling out how much of the cost of the policy is attributable to the Affordable Care Act. Download Consumer Notice(PDF)
Proponents say it is a necessary component of enacting the federal health care reform and will shift regulation of new health care policies to the federal government, including policies emerging from the federal health care exchange.
But opponents say the federal government doesn’t have the resources nor the ability to regulate insurance rates in Florida and, without those protections, rates could soar. If rates rise, they said, the disclosure form will mislead the public into concluding that the increased costs are all associated with the health care reform while any reductions in costs won’t be recorded.
“The sole purpose for the form is to present unfair ‘apples and oranges’ comparisons to the public that will ensure sticker shock,” said Greg Mellowe, policy director of the health insurance advocacy group, Florida CHAIN.
In a letter urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto the proposal, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the state’s former insurance commmissioner, called the attempt at deregulating the health insurers “unbelieveable and unconscionable” and could result in rate increases of between 10 percent and 70 percent. Download 05.22.13 Letter to Rick Scott re Raising Health Care Rates FL Sen. Bill 1842
But the governor and other advocates of the new law disagree.
“Rates for new plans will be reviewed by the same federal government that will be enforcing and updating the new rules and regulations throughout this very fluid and uncertain transition period,’’ the governor wrote when he signed SB 1862 into law on May 31. Read more here.