Calif. Lawmakers Weigh Options for Scrutinizing Health Plan Rate Hikes
Next month, the Legislature will work to develop a strategy for reviewing "unreasonable" increases in health insurance premiums, as mandated under the federal health reform law, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Insurance analysts predict that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and lawmakers will move quickly to create oversight initiatives because the Legislature is schedule to adjourn on Aug. 31. All pending legislation that does not pass by the end of August likely will be discarded.
Lawmakers are considering three separate proposals to increase scrutiny of health insurance rate hikes. TheÂ proposals include:
- A measure that wouldÂ barÂ insurers from increasing rates without regulators' approval;
- Another measure that would require insurers to provide justification for withholding coverage or charging unusually high rates; and
- AÂ measure that would establish a temporary moratorium on rate hikes and require insurers to obtain permission before significantly increasing premiums.
The governor has introduced a separate plan that calls for insurers to post their proposed rate hikes online and hire independent actuaries to review their rate filings.
Schwarzenegger has asked HHS for $1 million to fund the plan (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 7/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.