Columbus, OH--Today, Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage and 25 other organizations released a letter to Insurance Commissioner Mary Taylor outlining how the Administration is failing to meet federal regulations regarding consumer input into the health insurance premium rate review process.
"Because Director Taylor is not giving enough easily accessible information--as required by federal law--consumers in Ohio have little or no opportunity for input when insurers come in and ask for double-digit premium increases," said Cathy Levine, co-chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage. "More and more organizations are concerned that consumer voices are being ignored by this Administration."
The regulation for Effective Rate Review programs went into effect on September 1, 2011 but Ohio has yet to come into compliance with the regulation's provisions. This does not sit well with the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
"Nine months or an entire school year has passed without any action from the Administration to comply with this regulation," said Lisa Zellner, Ohio Federation of Teachers. "If a teacher went an entire school year without complying with state or federal regulations in his or her classroom our state leaders would be outraged. And, we are outraged that Director Taylor continues to violate this simple regulation--a regulation designed to give every day people information and input into their health insurance premium rates."
Other states have done a good job at informing the public and welcoming their input into the rate review process. States like Oregon, Colorado and others make information and comment opportunities readily available to consumers.
"Other states have easily complied with this regulation to encourage consumer input," said Ron Bridges, Government Relations Director, AARP. "Experience shows that effective rate review helps to slow premium growth and results in real savings."
In addition to this regulation, Ohio committed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its 2010 grant request for rate review capacity enhancement that it would use the money it received, to create a consumer friendly website. The grant was designed to give Ohio the assistance it needs to meet the requirements of the law.
"Director Taylor's modus operandi is to side with the insurance industry over hard-working Ohioans and small businesses," said Levine. "It is time to comply with the law and give consumers what they need. Stop letting us down.
Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage is a nonpartisan coalition uniting the diverse consumer voice with the goal of achieving affordable, high quality health care for all. Our membership includes AFSCME Council 8 AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio, American Cancer Society East Central Division, Faith Community Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, National Alliance for Mental Illness of Ohio, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Chapters, Ohio Asian American Health Coalition, The Ohio Association of Centers for Independent Living, Ohio Council of Churches, Progress Ohio, Service Employees International Union District 1199, Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1059, UHCAN Ohio, and We Are The Uninsured.