Reno, NV—Nevada Senator Harry Reid announced today that Nevada is one of 45 states set to receive a $1 million Affordable Care Act Grant to protect Nevadans against unfair insurance premium increases.
“For a long time health insurance companies increased their premiums with no one to hold them accountable. Insurance premiums went up twice as fast as inflation as coverage went down,” said Reid. “These grants are a strong first step toward protecting Nevada consumers who can’t afford unjustified hikes in their health care premiums. This funding will help the state review the current insurance rates, establish new laws to create transparency in rate filings and upgrade technology for data on insurance companies.”
This funding will be used by the state to prevent unjustified increases and protect consumers by taking the following steps. Below is a summary provided by the Department of Health and Human Services:
• Pursue Additional Legislative Authority: There are currently no rate filing requirements for small or large group preferred provider organization (PPO) products; Nevada has prior approval authority for individual and HMO rates. The State will propose legislation in the 2011 session to give it prior approval authority for health insurance premiums for group health benefit plans. The Department of Insurance is currently required to keep actuarial data in rate filings confidential; it will seek legislation to make rate filings publicly available when filed.
• Expand the Scope of the Review Process: Nevada will seek legislation to enable it to review small and large group health insurance premium filings.
• Improve the Review Process: Currently all individual rates in Nevada are reviewed. The State will use grant funds to seek greater review authority and hire staff to accommodate review of all major medical health insurance products.
• Increase Transparency and Accessibility: Presently, Nevada does not provide access to filing information. The State will create a new position of Consumer Advocate for Health Insurance Customers. This person will be able to seek hearings on health insurance premium filings requesting unreasonable increases and will represent the interests of consumers.
• Develop and Upgrade Technology: Nevada will collect data necessary to generate reports for the individual, small group and large group markets