Scrutiny can make insurance change work

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The state of Tennessee is planning on increasing its scrutiny of health insurance rate hikes.
It is getting a $1 million U.S. Health and Human Resources grant to aid the effort.
On the whole, we think this can be money well spent. So do a number of consumer-advocate groups, including the Tennessee Health Care Campaign.
Until recently, rate-hike proposals on group policies in Tennessee didn’t have to be submitted to a state agency for approval.
Now, through health-care changes, the state insurance department can reject small and large group rate increases if officials find them unjustified.
Of course, if the state lets politics into the process, this will be money wasted — and there’s no doubt that health insurance companies have deep pockets and can wield clout like a heavy club.
The public, through consumer groups and the media, will have to keep a close watch on this change to make it work.