Health care reform limits price gouging

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A provision in the health care reform law effectively tells insurers: No price gouging! And, it allows you to see whether your health insurance company may have tried to go too far with raising premiums. I’m Doug Whiteman with your Personal Finance Minute.

Under the law’s “rate review” provision, all proposed rate increases of 10 percent or more must be gone over by independent experts. If the reviewers feel the planned price hikes are unreasonable, states can try to knock down the increases or may even deny them outright. Under the law, Connecticut reduced a proposed Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield increase from 12.9 percent to 3.9 percent.

The Affordable Care Act also requires health insurers to publicly justify any proposed rate increase of 10 percent or more. You can find out why your rates are going up in postings at, sort of like report cards on insurance companies.

Experts say the information will help consumers shop around for health plans, particularly when state health insurance “exchanges” are scheduled to open in 2014. For more about what’s going on with health care, visit I’m Doug Whiteman.