Health insurance companies have requested double-digit hikes on insurance premiums for 2016. According to insurers, increasing drug costs and new data on consumers' health statuses have led to the request.

U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) disclosed health insurance companies' proposed rate increases of 10 percent or higher. The CMS revealed the information as part of "its commitment to transparency and robust rate review." The proposed premium increases, which are not final and could be adjusted, are for both local and federal marketplace exchanges.

The CMS announced a public "rate review" website is available that highlights the proposed rate increases. The CMS noted, "Rate review allows for officials, experts, and the public to examine and question why a particular health insurance plan's yearly increase in its premium is high (10 percent or greater) before it is finalized."

While premium increases were requested, the CMS acknowledged rates "often change" due to the rate review process and the marketplace exchanges' increases competition. The CMS was also quick to recognize consumers have the option to change their health insurance provider. For 2015, 29 percent of returning enrollees selected different plans compared to 2014.

"The rate review process kicks off an important set of steps designed to provide consumers and others the opportunity to weigh in on proposed rate increases of 10 percent or more," said Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the CMS.

"These specific rates will be subject to vigorous rate review and revision and the final rates consumers will see this Fall will reflect the breadth of choice and competition in the Marketplace."

In Florida, where consumers must use the federal to enroll, insurance companies' request included Aetna Health Inc. requesting increases between 17 percent and 21.22 percent. In California, which has a state-based marketplace exchange, increases by the Golden State's Aetna Health Inc. ranged from 19 percent to 22 percent.

The 2016 premium will be finalized by October.

Meanwhile in Congress, House GOP leaders said a replacement to the ACA will come soon ahead of the King v. Burwell court decision regarding subsidies.

"We'll have a plan that will be public before the ruling, but given that we don't know exactly what they'll say, we'll have to wait for the ruling to have text to align with the situation," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spokesperson Brendan Buck on Monday, via Politico.

As Latin Post reported, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated the nationwide uninsured rate within the Latino community dropped 12.3 percent since the ACA's first provisions went in effect in 2010. Since 2010, 4.2 million Latinos gained health insurance. Despite the gains, Latinos remained the largest uninsured ethnicity group.

Last April, the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI) said 60 percent of Latinos hold a favorable view of the health care reform legislation and found it increasingly easier to afford health insurance. The FAU poll also found Latinos have found it easier to afford health care compared to a similar survey conducted six months ago.

Of all of the Latinos participating in the FAU survey, 7.8 percent said they have no health insurance, which is a decline from the 15.7 percent claiming no health insurance six months earlier.


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