Consumers looking for affordable health insurance on the open market won some and lost some today. This is an example of the later: a state insurance appeal board just overturned a cap on rates that was set by Gov. Deval Patrick in Massachusetts.
The rate cap was intended to put a lid on seemingly endlessly rising health insurance rates. Massachusetts health insurance companies claimed that the cap would irreparably damage their businesses.
The appeal board sided with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, which was worried that increasing health care costs combined with the cap would make them insolvent. That insurer’s proposed rate increases were considered reasonable given those concerns. They are now free to implement the premium hikes, initially scheduled to become effective on April 1st. However, the three-month period they were meant for is about to finish–although they may charge the higher rates retroactively.