Panel Considers Bill That Would Boost Scrutiny of Health Plan Rate Hikes
On Tuesday, California's Assembly Committee on Health is scheduled to vote on a bill (AB 52) --Â by Assembly members Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) --Â that aims to prevent health insurers from imposing excessive rate hikes, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Recently Proposed Rate Hikes
This year, Blue Shield of California proposed rate increases of up to 59% for individual policyholders.
Anthem Blue Cross proposed similar increases for some of its policies last year. However, both insurers delayed their rate hikes after public outcry.
Health plans have said that rate hikes often are necessary to offset escalating health care costs.
AB 52 would authorize state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) to review health insurance rate hikes and reject increases that he deems excessive (Small/Roman, "KPCC News," KPCC, 4/4).
Jones, who supports the measure, already has the power to reject rate increases for automobile and property insurance. Legislation to extend such authority to health insurance rates has failed in the past (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 4/4).
"California's insurance commissioner needs the power to reject excessive health insurance rate increases," a San Jose Mercury News editorial states. It adds that the legislation would not impose costs on taxpayers because it would be funded by fees on health insurers.
The editorial concludes, "Feuer's bill is the most important health care legislation in Sacramento this year" (San Jose Mercury News, 4/4).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.