The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $2 million discretionary “rate review” grant to the Puerto Rico Insurance Commissioner’s Office under the Affordable Care Act to protect island consumers, Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi announced Monday.
This is the second grant that Puerto Rico has received under the ACA’s rate review program, which is designed to help states and territories bolster their oversight of insurance premiums.
With this funding, the agency will improve its rate review analysis process by performing an actuarial analysis of historic insurance premium rates and rate increases. Puerto Rico intends to develop the infrastructure necessary to perform more complex actuarial analysis.
Second, it will further improve transparency by developing a consumer alert system, as well as enhancing the search and reporting functions on the agency’s website.
Finally, the Insurance Commissioner’s Office will improve health insurance premium reporting by upgrading its current data collection, analysis, and reporting systems.
“I worked hard to ensure that Puerto Rico and the other territories were included in the consumer protection provisions of the ACA, including the rate review grant program. This was not a preordained or inevitable result. We had to fight for inclusion, and we were ultimately successful,” said Pierluisi.
The first grant, of $1 million, was awarded in March 2011. With that initial round of funding, the Insurance Commissioner’s Office, which has the authority to analyze health insurance rates, expanded the scope of its review process, Pierluisi said.
Specifically, the agency mandated the submission of rate information through an electronic process. In addition, the agency improved transparency by enhancing its website to make information about rate increases and rating trends more accessible to consumers and businesses.