Starting Sept. 1, health insurance rates for the individual and small group markets will face stricter scrutiny to determine whether they are reasonable under new rules required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will review rates in nine states that lack the authority to adequately do so. The remaining 41 states will conduct their own reviews.

“These new rules, combined with the funding states are receiving under the Affordable Care Act, will trigger much closer scrutiny of health insurance rate hikes,” says DeAnn Friedholm, director of Consumers Union's health reform campaign. “But ultimately, it will be up to the states to protect consumers when rate increases are found to be unreasonable. States need to make sure they have the tools necessary to prevent unreasonable rate increases from going into effect. And some states that have the authority to curb rate hikes need to act more aggressively to prevent insurers from gouging consumers.”

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