Aid boosts oversight of insurers

Associated Press / August 17, 2010

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WASHINGTON — Health insurance premium increases will get a harder look in Massachusetts and most parts of the country, thanks to an infusion of federal cash for state regulators.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday announced $46 million in federal grants to help states strengthen their oversight of health insurance rate hikes. It’s the first installment of $250 million for state regulators in the new health care law.

The Bay State, which will get $1 million, joined 44 states and Washington, D.C., in receiving the grants. officials had said they would use the money to increase the number of insurers that would be subject to state review. The state currently reviews rate increases proposed by Blue Cross Blue Shield, HMOs, and insurers in the small group market.

The state would also use the money to develop more sophisticated tools to evaluate rates and costs.

Five states did not apply for money — Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wyoming — but may do so later. top stories on Twitter

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