Bill provides for Missouri agency review of ACA rate hikes

From the Associated Press

Health insurance companies would no longer be able to raise rates for Affordable Care Act consumers in Missouri without review by a state agency under a measure awaiting the governor’s signature.

Advocates say the change is long overdue. Missouri is the only state that does not receive or review health-insurance rates, said Yaryna Klimchak, spokeswoman for the state Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. Only the federal government reviews rate changes before they are implemented in Missouri.

State lawmakers this month approved Senate Bill 865, which includes a provision giving the state agency authority to review any proposed rate increase before it affects consumers who get individual health insurance through the ACA. The notification also would give consumers a chance to comment on the rate hike proposals.

The measure must still be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The “Missouri Health Insurance Rate Transparency Act” would allow the state agency to determine if the rate increase is reasonable, and request a change if it is deemed unreasonable. The state agency wouldn’t have the authority to reject the rate hike, but could make it public.

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