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WA Insurance Commissioner Wants Power to Consider Health Insurers' Surpluses Before Rate Approvals

Source: AP

Posted on 30 Nov 2010

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Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler wants to consider some companies' cash surpluses before approving the rates they charge.

The power to consider surpluses would apply to nonprofit health insurers, who make up most of the health market in Washington. Kreidler says some firms have built up hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses while seeking double-digit rate increases.

Kreidler also wants to give consumers more access to the information behind health insurance rates, including how much goes to profit, medical expenses and administrative costs.

Premera Blue Cross spokesman Eric Earling says it's a bad idea because surpluses ensure financial stability for customers. And he says it's unfair to leave out for-profit insurers.