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Health insurer rises should be public: health sec

2010-03-08 9
   
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résuméWASHINGTON U.S. health insurers should post information about rising premiums for certain customers on their company websites to justify rising costs, the U.S. health secretary said in a letter to several insurers on Monday. Kathleen Sebelius, in let
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Health insurer rises should be public: health sec


WASHINGTON U.S. health insurers should post information about rising premiums for certain customers on their company websites to justify rising costs, the U.S. health secretary said in a letter to several insurers on Monday.

Kathleen Sebelius, in letters to top insurers such as Aetna Inc and Wellpoint Inc, called on the companies to make public details about their estimated costs, enrollment changes and other details at a time when rates are increasing as much as 39 percent.

"Post on your websites the justification for any individual or small group rate increases you have implemented or proposed in 2010, and continue to post such a justification in connection with any future increases," she wrote to the companies' chief executive officers.

The heads of Cigna Corp, UnitedHealth Group Inc and privately held Health Care Service Corp also received letters.

Sebelius met with health insurance chief executives last week over premium increases for individuals and small businesses who lack the negotiating power of larger corporations, who provide healthcare coverage for the bulk of the privately insured.

While President Barack Obama's healthcare reform proposals want to increase federal government oversight over health insurance premiums, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services currently has little power over the industry now regulated on a state-by-state basis.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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