Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kreidler: Premera doesn't want you to see what's behind your health rates


Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler called out Premera Blue Cross for attempting - again - to gut a bill that would give the public access to health insurance rate filings.

"I'm extremely disappointed in Premera," said Kreidler. "Their latest attempt to gut our legislation is very troubling. What don't they want the public to see?"

Kreidler's proposal (ESHB 1220) makes the information in a health insurance rate filing public shortly after his office receives it. This includes how much of the proposed rate will go to:

  • Pay medical claims
  • Cover administrative costs -- including salaries
  • Profit

Kreidler added, "People who pay their premiums year after year -even when their rates go up - deserve to see what's behind those increases. Today, state law prevents me from sharing that information with the public. Now, more than ever, people struggling to pay for health insurance deserve full transparency."

Under the latest amendment sought by Premera, the public would see only summaries of rate filings, and only for those filings with increases greater than 10 percent. They could not see the entire rate filing.

"Premera's latest attempt to water down transparency is nothing more than a cruel charade on the public," said Kreidler. "Giving people a pre-canned summary of only certain rate filings is meaningless. Washington consumers deserve better."

A vote on the bill could come as early as tomorrow.

Read the full release and see letters of support from two other major health insurers.