Neighborhood Health Plan Update on Ruling Made by Suffolk Superior Court Regarding Division of Insurance Rate Denials
Boston, MA - April 16, 2010 - On April 5th, the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans (MAHP), along with Massachusetts Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) and other plans including Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP), filed a legal complaint in court challenging the legality of the regulations adopted by the Division of Insurance (DOI) and the process it is following in connection with its recent rejection of small group premium rates. Included in the filing was a request for an injunction prohibiting the DOI from preventing NHP and the other plans named in the complaint from charging the submitted and denied rates until such time as the case was tried and the outcome decided.
On Monday April 12th, Suffolk Superior court judge Stephen Neel denied the request for the injunction. According to the ruling, plans are required to comply with DOI's original decision until such time the court renders a decision on the overall case. We are disappointed that the request was denied, but NHP remains confident in the merits of the overall case.
As a result of Monday's decision, and in order to be in compliance with the DOI directive, NHP will begin the process of issuing rate renewals and new business quotes for the four NHP products that were approved by the DOI as well as for those product rates that were disapproved. For those that were disapproved, NHP will begin the process of issuing rate renewals and new business quotes using the base rates that were approved for April 2009.
This matter is fluid and ongoing, and the court's recent decision is one step in the overall process. We are confident in our position, and will continue to work with MAHP, the State, and on our own behalf, on meaningful reforms to help address the underlying factors driving health care costs. Our hope is for a swift resolution to this situation to minimize the confusion to our members and customers. As always, NHP remains focused on its mission and on what matters to us most: ensuring high quality health care services for our members and the communities we serve.
Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) is a not-for-profit health insurer serving more than 200,000 members across Massachusetts, offering a wide array of competitive Medicaid and commercial products. Working in partnership with community health centers and other community-responsive providers, NHP focuses on offering members access to care from over 2,800 primary care physicians and over 10,400 specialists in over 300 primary care locations throughout Massachusetts. Central to Neighborhood Health Plan's mission, we place special emphasis on serving culturally diverse, traditionally underserved, and vulnerable populations.