kreidler1.jpg

UPDATE: Premera says Kreidler has got his facts wrong. Details after the jump.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is pissed. The commissioner has been pushing

"/>

Mike Kreidler, State Insurance Commssioner, Lashes Out at Premera for Trying to Hide Financial Data

kreidler1.jpg

UPDATE: Premera says Kreidler has got his facts wrong. Details after the jump.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is pissed. The commissioner has been pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow public access to financial information filed with his office by health-insurance companies. Among the data that would be revealed: how much of proposed rates would go to profit. That's apparently not something that Premera Blue Cross is interested in sharing. According to an angry press release sent by Kreidler this afternoon, the company is trying to "gut" the bill.

He says Premera is supporting a soon-to-be-introduced amendment that would make only summaries public, and only in cases where insurers are seeking rate increases greater than 10 percent.

"What don't they want the public to see?" Kreidler asks. His spokesperson, Stephanie Marquis, says Premera often talks about "trade secrets" that might be revealed, but that the company has yet to define what those secrets are. She points out that Oregon already publicizes such information.

Asked for comment, Premera spokesperson Eric Earling says he needs to research the matter.

The debate has split the insurance companies--something that almost never happens, according to Marquis. Regence BlueShield and Group Health Cooperative are both supporting the bill.

Indeed, in a letter to Rep. Eileen Cody in February, Group Health Executive Vice-President Pam MacEwan explains that the co-op thinks the data will help with its PR (see pdf of MacEwan's letter). Many people, of course, assume that health insurers are simply gouging consumers. But, writes MacEwan:

We know that the real cost driver behind premium increases is the growth in the cost and utilization of health care, and this bill should help bring that fact to light for all stakeholders.

Maybe. Then again, maybe everybody's numbers don't line up that way.

The bill is expected to reach the Senate floor as soon as tomorrow, and it's at that point that the Premera-backed amendment is likely to be introduced.

UPDATE: In subsequent calls and e-mails, Premera's Earling says Kreidler has mischaracterized the company's proposal. It would apply to all rate filings, not just those seeking increases over 10 percent, Earling says. And it would entail making a lot of financial data public--just not actuarial formulas that he calls "competitive information." Asked for the actual proposal that spells this out, Earling says he is unable to do so at this moment.

Follow The Daily Weekly on Facebook and Twitter.

 
comments powered by Disqus