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Pennsylvania investigating health insurance rate hikes

Posted On Thu, June 10, 2010

Several of the largest health insurance providers in Pennsylvania have, in the past few months, repeatedly increased rates, and the state Insurance Department wants to know why.

The companies are apparently issuing what the Philadelphia Business Journal called "individualized medical questionnaires" and engaging in drug profiling for those in small health care groups. Only two of the state's nine largest insurers, Independence Blue Cross and Highmark, are not engaging in these practices.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell called the statewide rate hikes "truly exorbitant," the paper said. Some small businesses have seen their annual premiums increase up to 50 percent. Rendell said this was not commensurate with increases in health spending, which are more in the 5-to-10-percent range, but rather came in advance of companies trying to get the highest rates possible before the federal health care reforms take effect.

A new report from the Insurance and Financial Advisor said that this problem is not native to just Pennsylvania. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced $51 million in grants for every state in the nation to investigate such increases from their own insurers.ADNFCR-2297-ID-19830318-ADNFCR

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