Feds give Minn. $4M to review health insurance rates

The federal government is awarding the Minnesota Commerce Department nearly $4 million to review health insurance rates in individual and small group markets.

Minnesota was one of 29 states to receive the funding as part of the federal health care law's attempt to scrutinize health insurance rate hikes. The award means the state will be able to add three new positions.

The grant requires the Department of Commerce, which regulates insurance, to work with the state Health Economics Program and the Department of Health to study the history of rates, benefit patterns, actuarial values and expenses.

In addition, the funding is expected to help consumers better understand their policies. Minnesota will conduct interviews and focus groups with consumers to understand information gaps and will develop a web-based tool for consumers to understand rate filings.

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