Many States Can Conduct Robust Rate Reviews; Why Aren’t More Doing So?

Although a “healthy minority” of states have the authority to conduct enhanced reviews of proposed premium rates — in which they evaluate the rates that health insurers negotiate with providers — just a small handful are doing so, according to a new analysis.

A variety of barriers are preventing state regulators from fully flexing their rate-review muscles, including industry opposition, according to one of the researchers who produced the analysis. And although that opposition historically has included insurers, there’s an argument to be made that the sector should change its tune.

“I think the health plans should embrace this kind of regulation, because when you look at the hospital sector and how increasingly consolidated it is, and how so many hospitals and health systems are using their market power to demand ever-higher reimbursement rates in the commercial market…health plans are really powerless to push back, because these hospitals are must-have participating providers” in health plan networks, says Sabrina Corlette, co-director of Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR).

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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