Trends in Premiums in the Small Group and Individual Insurance Markets, 2008-2011. Data Preparation


After NORC obtained the rate filings by downloading them from websites or the other means described above, multiple challenges remained. Within the same state, and sometimes within the same carrier, rate filings differ greatly in format. Some were only a few pages long, while others exceeded 100 pages, with some actually thousands of pages long with the useful information hidden somewhere within. Longer documents display actuarial assumptions. A typical product submission will display different plans embedded with a product, each with its own premium level. Plans bundled together in a single filing usually offer the same benefits but have different levels of cost-sharing. Fortunately, more filings in later years were submitted using a consistent format, the System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF). Use of this format is becoming increasingly common and will address many of the challenges of building a standardized database derived from heterogeneous source documents.20 All states accept filings submitted using the SERFF system. Table 4 provides a list of states requiring all filings to be submitted through SERFF.

Table 4: Requirements for Filing SERFF Forms, by State

State In Final Sample Required to use SERFF Forms? Year SERFF Requirement Began
Alabama Yes Yes 2007
Arkansas Yes Yes 2011
California Yes No n/a
Colorado Yes Yes 2008
Connecticut Yes Yes 2011
Delaware No Yes 2007
District of Columbia No Yes 2007
Florida Yes No n/a
Georgia No Yes 2009
Hawaii Yes No n/a
Illinois Yes No n/a
Iowa Yes Yes 2007
Indiana Yes No n/a
Idaho Yes No n/a
Kansas Yes Yes 2009
Kentucky Yes No n/a
Massachusetts No Yes 2009
Maine Yes Yes 2009
Maryland Yes No n/a
Michigan Yes Yes 2009
Minnesota Yes Yes 2009
Nevada No Yes 2010
New Hampshire No Yes 2008
New Jersey Yes Yes 2010
New Mexico No Yes 2009
North Carolina Yes No n/a
Nebraska Yes Yes 2010
Ohio Yes Yes 2009
Oklahoma Yes Yes 2009
Oregon Yes No n/a
Pennsylvania Yes No n/a
Rhode Island Yes Yes 2007
South Carolina No Yes 2011
South Dakota Yes Yes 2007
Utah No Yes 2007
Vermont No Yes 2009
Virginia Yes No n/a
Washington Yes Yes 2009
West Virginia No Yes 2009
Wisconsin Yes No n/a

Note: Only states either in the final sample or required to use SERFF forms are listed. Source: State SERFF Mandates, (life, accident, and health requirements only), accessed August 28, 2016.

As the study progressed, NovaRest obtained filings from sampled states and carriers. Filings came in the form of documents copied and converted into PDF by Perr & Knight, electronic filings downloaded from state websites, summary information on filings in a particular time period downloaded from state websites, and filings sent directly by a state insurance department at NovaRest’s request. Table 5 outlines the methods used to obtain filings for each of the states included in our sample.

NovaRest reviewed each of these rate filings and entered data from the filing, including information identifying the carrier, type of product, market, approval policies of the carrier’s state (file and use versus prior approval), target MLR, and other elements relevant to our research questions (see Appendix C for a complete list of data elements extracted from filings). Following this process, NORC staff continued to add to the database based on ongoing additions to filings from 2011. The findings presented in this version of the report are based on all filings entered into the database forwarded to ASPE on July 20th, 2012.

Table 5: Data Collection Methods Employed, by State

State Perr & Knight Obtained Physical Filings NORC Team Direct Contact with Insurance Departments Public Website with Summary Documents Public Websites with Filings
Alabama x   x  
Arkansas       x
California x     x
Colorado x   x x
Connecticut x     x
Florida x   x x
Hawaii x      
Idaho x      
Illinois     x  
Indiana x     x
Iowa x   x  
Kansas x      
Kentucky x     x
Massachusetts x      
Maine     x x
Maryland   x    
Michigan x      
Minnesota x x    
Nebraska x   x  
New Jersey   x    
North Carolina x      
Ohio x      
Oklahoma x     x
Oregon x   x x
Pennsylvania x     x
Rhode Island x     x
South Dakota x      
Virginia x      
Washington x     x
Wisconsin x     x

Note: Only states where filings were collected are listed.

20 SERFF aims to enable carriers to send and states to receive comments on filings including acceptances and rejections of rate and form filings. First developed by the NAIC in the 1990s, 27 states today mandate the use of SERFF in submitting health and life insurance filings to the state insurance department. SERFF provides a standardized format for filings that were historically characterized by a high degree of heterogeneity.

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