As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), i.e., health care reform, states received more than $46 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Crain’s Detroit Business reported that Michigan has received $1 million of grants from HHS to go towards improving oversight and review of proposed health insurance premium increases. Although the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) will ultimately use the grant for this purpose, OFIR first must obtain additional legislative authority to enforce consumer protections in the federal bill. This will require the Michigan Legislature to amend the Michigan Insurance Code to incorporate the specific consumer protections. At this time, the OFIR only has the authority to review, investigate, examine and encourage compliance from health insurance companies.
Crain’s Detroit Business also reported that Michigan plans to use the $1 million grant to:
(1) Contract with consulting actuaries for targeted, in-depth analysis and review of health insurance premium filings made by HMOs and commercial carriers.
(2) OFIR also plans to conduct a study on the feasibility of posting health insurance rate information on a website that will also create a forum for access to consumer friendly information.