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More than 45,000 Arizonans who have Aetna as their health insurance provider may see a rate increase of 16%. Customers who are part of the Preferred Provider Organization-PPO-Small Group-and Aetna Fee for Service-Indemnity-Small Group health insurance plans will see an average rate increase of 16.17% starting January 1, 2013 if the premium rate hike proposed by Aetna goes forward.
Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, stated, “A double-digit health care increase is an unwelcome surprise that should not be accepted until Aetna has proven it is implementing everything it can to lower health care costs. By cutting administrative waste, driving a hard bargain with hospitals on prices, and providing incentives to keep people healthy, Aetna should be able to increase health care quality while reducing costs.”
According to information provided on HealthCare.gov, the government website that provides information on the federal health reform law, if Aetna’s proposed rate increase moves forward the “…premiums may be higher or lower than this average based on factors such as age, family structure, and health experience of the covered groups and individuals.” Additionally, the website points out that the actual date of a rate increase may vary based on the anniversary date of one’s policy and other factors.
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Background on Health Insurance Rate Review
According to the federal health reform law, any health insurance premium rate increase 10% or higher now needs to become public. Getting All the Cards on the Table: The Premise and Promise of Health Insurance Rate Review in Arizona a report released earlier this year by St. Luke’s Health Initiatives and the Arizona PIRG Education Fund highlights options Arizona has to increase transparency so small businesses and consumers have better information and are better protected against unreasonable health insurance rate increases.
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