Louisiana is one of only 10 states that lacks the power to review, rate and reject health insurance rate increases, according to a report from The Shreveport Times.

The Shreveport daily’s report coincides with a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which determined that two insurance companies, John Alden and Trustmark, have proposed unreasonable rate hikes in nine states: Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The “excessive” rate increases, DHH says, would impact more than 42,000 residents in the nine states.

In accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act, DHH has been implementing a national health insurance rate review system in which rate increases are analyzed and other information on insurance companies is posted online at healthcare.gov:
In these nine states, the insurers have requested rate increases as high as 24 percent. These increases were reviewed by independent experts to determine whether they are reasonable.  In this case, HHS determined that the rate increases were unreasonable, because the insurer would be spending a low percentage of premium dollars on actual medical care and quality improvements, and because the justifications were based on unreasonable assumptions.

This initiative is one of many in the health care law to ensure that insurance companies play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping coverage when a person gets sick, billing consumers into bankruptcy through annual or lifetime limits, and, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.

Most rates are reviewed by states and many states have the authority to reject unreasonable premium increases.  
But Louisiana doesn’t have that authority yet, and even if the two bills filed to add that power pass, they wouldn’t take effect until 2014. So if you’re insured by John Alden in Louisiana, your rates could go up as much as 12 percent after May 1, according to The Shreveport Times. Trustmark is planning a 15 percent increase.

Read more here and here.

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