White House Asks Insurance Industry for Transparency on Premium Increases

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wants healthcare insurance companies to be more transparent on premium increases.  The outcome of the high-level meeting?  Greater transparency is needed when companies request increases in healthcare insurance premiums.  Sebelius suggested the executives post proposed rate increases and actuarial data supporting the need for them on the internet.  “At the very least, we need some transparency,” Sebelius told the Associated Press.

Angela Braly, WellPoint president and CEO, said that transparency is “a particularly constructive place to start.”  Although no firm agreement was reached at the meeting in the White House Roosevelt Room, Stephen Hemsley, UnitedHealth Group’s CEO said “I do expect there will be some follow-up from the secretary.”

President Obama spent a few minutes in the meeting, discussing costs and the individual insurance market, which is where the largest hikes are being made.  The president gave the executives a letter from a woman in Ohio whose insurance premium is being raised by 40 percent to demonstrate the hardship the increases place on people.

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