HHS Rejects Insurers’ Pleas

            Despite strong pleas from insurance execs and industry lobbyists, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services went ahead with its plans to implement strict age-rating requirements in a new rule published Friday.

Under the final rule, which largely resembles the proposed version published last November, insurers can only charge their older members up to three times as much as younger members, MedPage Today reported.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, though, pushed back on the new rules. “The new restrictions on age rating will result in an overnight increase in healthcare costs for people in their 20s, 30s and early 40s,” AHIP CEO Karen Ignani said in a statement. “This increases the likelihood that younger, healthier people forgo purchasing insurance until they are sick or injured. When this happens, costs go up for everyone, young and old.”

Ignani added that the age rating restrictions will simultaneously be implemented alongside requirements for essential health benefits and the new health tax, all of which will “further add to the cost of coverage.”

Conversely, AARP supported the new age rating rule. “Implementing a limited use of age rating immediately thwarts what would have been a negative and disproportionate effect on Americans aged 50 to 64 if they could not obtain affordable health insurance at a time when they need at most,” AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond said in a statement.