More Than 1.5M Calif. Residents See Rise in Health Care Premiums
On Friday, planned health insurance rate increases took effect for more than 1.5 million California residents, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Details of the Increases
The rate increases primarily affected policyholders enrolled in plans offered through small businesses. The average rate hikes ranged from 3% to more than 17%,Â but some policyholdersÂ faced higher increases.
The premium hikes affected:
- Aetna small-group policyholders, who saw rates rise by an average of 12.7% or 17.4% for two different plans;
- Anthem Blue Cross small-group policyholders, who saw rates increase by an average of 3% to 9.5%;
- Health Net small-group policyholders, who saw rates rise by an average of 16%; and
- Kaiser Permanente small-group policyholders, who saw rates increase by an average of 12%.
Debate Continues Over Rate Regulation
The newly enacted rate increases add fuel to the ongoing debate over a bill (AB 52), by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), that would allow state officials to regulate health insurance rate hikes (Smith, Sacramento Bee, 7/1).
Supporters of AB 52 say the bill would benefit consumers and employers by allowing state regulators to block unreasonable health insurance rate increases.
However, opponents argue that the bill would raise regulatory spending without addressing the underlying causes of escalating health care costs.
The Senate Health Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation on Wednesday (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 7/4).
Headlines and links to editorials on AB 52 are provided below.
- "Health Insurance: Halting Arbitrary Premium Hikes" (Los Angeles Times, 7/5).
- "Editorial: Senate Must Step Up for Health Rate Review" (Sacramento Bee, 7/5).