Group Urges Obama To Advocate for Tougher Health Plan Regulations
On Tuesday, California-based Consumer Watchdog sent a letter asking President Obama to "use the full power" of his office to push for regulations requiring prior approval of health insurance premium increases, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
If Congress fails to develop federal regulations, the group said the Obama administration should promote prior-approval premium regulations as state ballot measures.
Group Suggests Prop. 103 as Model
In its letter, Consumer Watchdog suggested that Proposition 103 -- California's property and casualty insurance regulation -- could serve as a "model for a state-by-state campaign to enact prior approval regulation of health insurance rates."
Proposition 103Â requires the state insurance commissioner to approve auto insurance rates. It also allows consumers to object to "unreasonable increases" and request hearings on rate hikes.
Consumer Watchdog also called for the Obama administration to:
- Authorize state insurance commissioners to reject health plan rate hikes considered excessive or unjustified;
- Define "unreasonable" rate increases in a way that allows HHS to conduct broad reviews of premium changes;
- Require insurers to disclose comprehensive data on their rates; and
- Strengthen state regulations in the second round of HHS' rate review grants (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/14).