NAACP Calls on Insurance Commissioner to be Price Watchdog: Need to keep rates affordable for thousands of new Alaska enrollees
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28. 2014, 8:00 AM
Contact: Kevin D. McGee, (907) 441-2137
ANCHORAGE: The Anchorage NAACP is calling on Alaska's state Division of Insurance to be an aggressive watchdog to hold down insurance rates. After more than 12,000 additional Alaskans signed up for health coverage, it is critical to keep their rates low and prevent insurance companies from unnecessary price hikes. Vigilance is required because the state has allowed health insurance rates to grow at nearly twice the rate of other costs.
"The Division of Insurance should use every tool in the toolbox to stop exorbitant insurance rate hikes, including use of federal funding for more robust reviews of proposed insurance rate increases," said Kevin McGee, 1st Vice-President of the NAACP, Anchorage.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just closed another round of grant applications that states can use to police insurance rate hikes. CMS has made some $250 million available to states to be more aggressive in pushing back against insurance price increases.
According to the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Alaska insurance prices climbed sharply prior to the Affordable Care Act, and Alaskans pay 30% more than the national average for health insurance. The Journal of Commerce also reports that Anchorage health insurance costs grew at twice the rate of other costs during the first decade of the 2000s. Despite the rapid escalation of health costs, Alaskans are less healthy than average.
The state must do more to hold down the cost of health care by using consumer protection regulations and grants available from the federal government.