State wants court to enforce health rates order
The state Division of Insurance today filed a motion in Suffolk Superior Court to require two Massachusetts health insurers to comply with an order to resubmit rejected premium rates along the lines required by regulators.
While regulators asked insurers to update their quotes for individuals and small businesses using April 2009 base rates, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Fallon Community Health Plan filed revised quotes using March 2010 rates. Those rates were lower than the rate proposals rejected by the insurance division, but higher than what regulators sought.
"We are committed to ensuring companies treat consumers fairly during this process, and we want small businesses and working families to have immediate access to the rate relief they were granted by the court," state Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy said in a statement.
State regulators and health insurers have been battling over the rates since the insurance division earlier this month turned down proposed increases it deemed excessive in what is known as the small group market, a segment that covers about 800,000 people.
In a letter to insurers earlier this week, Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy said the companies could face fines of as much as $5,000 a day -- plus another $1,000 for each consumer who was unable to buy insurance at approved rates -- if they didn't comply with the directive to submit revised quotes using April 2009 rates.