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Published 21st May 2004, 12:42pm

Cayman Net News

The Health Insurance Commission has reminded the public that one of its key functions is monitoring the operations of approved health-insurance providers, including changes in premium rates.

As required by law, premiums charged by approved health-insurance providers are not to be increased without prior authorisation from Cabinet, which bases its decision upon recommendations from the Health Insurance Commission.

“These procedures are in place to ensure that premium increases are warranted,” said the commission’s Chief Executive Officer Mervyn Conolly, who is also the superintendent of health insurance.

The two pieces of legislation that govern premium increases are the Health Insurance (Amendment) Regulations 2003 and the Health Insurance Commission Law (2003).

They specify that approved health-insurance providers must file proposals for increases with the Health Insurance Commission.

The commission may then secure the services of an impartial actuary to determine if the increase is justified.

The commission will subsequently inform Cabinet of its recommendation, to receive Cabinet’s assent. The commission will then notify the provider, in writing, of the decision.

Mr Conolly noted that any approved insurer who increased premiums without prior Cabinet authorisation was operating outside the law.

The Health Insurance (Amendment) Regulations 2003 also outlined the four standard health-insurance contracts that all providers are to eventually offer the public.

This provision is intended to help the public understand their insurance coverage and “comparison shop” with greater ease.