Insurance Rates Hikes In Florida:
"how do other states shape up?..."

MIAMI, FL -- You can see Rate increases as high as 50 percent for individual Aetna subscribers in Florida prompted the state to look into premium rates offered in other states. These high increases applied to as many as 600,000 Aetna clients who purchased policies on their own rather then being covered through a group employer plan.

Mr. President Obama has looked at Aetna rate increases in Florida to help jump-start the stalled debate with Congress over changing the nation's health care system. Aetna, a larger commercial health insurance carrier., informed its customers this month that rates would still go up on Arpil 1st. Beign Faced with a firestorm of real criticism and a political push, Aetna agreed on Friday to delay the rate hikes until August at the behest of the Floridian Department of Insurance, to allow the state to investigate.

Many large ignificant rate increases have also been reported by other members of state insurers in Florida, but Aetna has is one of the state's largest carriers that deals with individual health insurance consumers. Aetna faces state and federal reviews, including a hearing on next Friday before the state Assembly Health Insurance Committee. Later on that week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will start to examine the big issue, and the next day Obama's bipartisan White House health insurance summit is scheduled. Mr. Rep. Henry Waxman, of D-Los Angeles, chairman of the House committee, sent a demanding letter Thursday to Aetna's chief executive officer, questioning the explanation for Aetnas huge rate increases.

The carrier said the rate increases in part to the bad economy, saying that many healthy people dropped coverage, creating a larger pool of sick individuals, more costly individuals. Mr. Waxman asserted that data the insurer submitted to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners gave data that showed the number of Aetna individual policies actually grew more than 12 percent last year. Aetna said the membership data cited was not complete and that the number of Aetnas individual members declined by about 30,000 between 2007 and 2089.

In a great response to the Health Insurance and Human Services report, Aetna blamed the underlying cost of medical care - not the insurer profits - for driving up high cost premiums in Florida and around the country. The insurance report cited a number of individual cases in which states blocked the rate increases offered by insurers.

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