Small Businesses To Get More Notice Before Rate Hikes; Veterans To Qualify for Mental Health & Substance Abuse Assistance

After Iowa’s largest health insurance carrier announced an 18% rate hike in insurance premiums last month, the Iowa House of Representatives approved legislation tonight to hold insurance companies accountable and provide more transparency for consumers on health insurance plans and premiums.  Another provision of the bill for Iowa veterans will guarantee insurance coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatment.

“In these tough economic times, middle class families and small businesses deserve to know the specific reasons why their insurance rates are rising so dramatically every year,” said State Representative Janet Petersen of Des Moines.  “After years of double digit rate increases, small businesses deserve more warning and an opportunity to voice their concerns before rate increases take effect.”

“With thousands of Iowans serving overseas in just the last few years alone, Iowa veterans deserve to get the mental health services and support they need in their own community,” said State Representative Ray Zirkelbach of Monticello, who served in Iraq.  “This is a huge step forward for Iowa veterans and I’m proud the Legislature stood up for the brave men and women in uniform today.”

The insurance company accountability plan, Senate File 2265, calls for a detailed annual report from the Iowa Insurance Commissioner on health care spending and health insurance in Iowa.  The information must include rate increase data, health care expenditures, ranking factors that raise or lower costs in each insurance plan, and other data.  Other provisions of the plan include more transparency of health insurance information, public hearings on rate health insurance increase applications before they are approved, and notification of rate increase applications to all policyholders.

The bill now goes to the Senate.