Trends in Premiums in the Small Group and Individual Insurance Markets, 2008-2011. Availability of Data on Approval Status


Filings submitted through SERFF have several standardized options to indicate their status – in prior approval states, the most common of these are “approved” and “disapproved”, while in file and use states, most are labeled “filed”. In some cases, however, data were ambiguous: some filings from prior approval states are labeled “filed”, and a few filings have non-standard labels including “acknowledged” and “closed”. We believe that, for this former group labeled “filed”, the state regulator may not have issued a final determination, allowing the carrier to implement the rate increase under “deemer” rules. 24 As a result, in assessing the quality of data on filing disposition status, we feel the most meaningful comparison is between filings with a “finalized” disposition – those in prior approval jurisdictions (which includes HMOs in states that only require prior approval for that product type) labeled approved, disapproved, or withdrawn – and those with “incomplete” dispositions.

For the four-year study period in prior approval jurisdictions, 88.7 percent of filings in the individual and 78.8 percent in the small group market provided some information on whether the requested premium increase was approved or not (Table 12). Most filings obtained from state summary tables did not include information on approval status, but their release by state regulators implies that their disposition has been finalized – these filings, from states including Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey, are considered approved. All file and use states are excluded from the table.

Table 12: Number and Percentage of Filings with Finalized Approval Status‡ in Jurisdictions with Regulator Prior Approval, by Market and Year

  2008 2009 2010 2011† Total 2008-2011†
Number of Filings with Data on Approval Status
Individual 213 349 365 311 1238
Small Group 102 130 181 161 574
Percentage of Filings with Data on Approval Status
Individual 86.6% 93.1% 87.7% 86.9% 88.7%
Small Group 78.5% 82.3% 84.6% 71.2% 78.8%

† Data for 2011 are incomplete.
‡ As described above, “finalized approval status” refers to filings which are considered approved, disapproved, or withdrawn by the carrier.
Note: To calculate the percentage of filings, the denominator includes all filings from prior approval states and HMO filings from HMO prior approval states (see Table 1).

24 Some prior approval states have a “deemer” clause. If the state has not acted on the carrier’s rate request, that request goes into effect 30, 60, or 90 days after the insurer files its request, depending upon the state law. In the rate filings, the designated status is usually “closed” or “filed”, but never “deemed”. Some of the rate filings with no disposition may have been settled under “deemer” rules.

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