Small businesses and their employees can certainly use some good news in these still unsettled economic times. It came for nearly 600 organizations and their workers from what might be termed a nontraditional source — the Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI).
The relief comes in the form of $2.75 million in refunds from the subsidiaries (Time Insurance Company, Union Security Insurance and John Alden Life Insurance Company) of Assurant Health. The reason: the Assurant companies were charging small businesses rate increases since October 2010 that had not been approved by IDOI.
IDOI Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson says, "Small businesses everywhere already struggle to provide health insurance to their employees because of the cost. I am pleased we were able to negotiate a settlement that makes employers whole."
The reason for the problem, according to IDOI, which has authority from the Indiana General Assembly to review health insurance rates.
In reviewing rates, the Department considers the rate justification provided by the company and determines independently if the company’s filing is sound and justified. Because Assurant’s policy forms had been on file since 2007, Assurant believed that its renewal rates were not subject to review by the Department. After being contacted by the Department about its concerns, Assurant worked out this agreement which ensures employers will promptly receive refunds.
IDOI encourages consumers and business owners to visit the Rate Watch web site to monitor rate filings in order to be more engaged with the process, submit comments, budget and plan for health insurance costs. Questions or concerns can be addressed online or by calling (800) 622-4461.
Kudos to IDOI, as well as Assurant for doing the right thing when the problem was discovered.