California Senator Dianne Feinstein released a letter today strongly supporting a rate regulation now pending in the California Legislature, AB52 by Assemblymember Mike Feuer. Under this legislation, which had been carried in previous years by now-Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, state regulators would have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate increases, to protect individual consumers and small businesses.
“It is critical to protect California consumers and businesses, and AB 52 will give the State Insurance Commissioner and the Director of the Department of Managed Health Care the authority to reject excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory rate increases.
“Insurance companies are driven by the need to return profits to shareholders, and without proper regulatory oversight, will continue to raise rates and drop people from coverage to maximize their profits. It is clear that California’s state regulators need the authority to reject excessive rate hikes.”
The bill would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process. Senator Feinstein has a similar measure pending at the federal level, the Health Insurance Rate Review Act (S. 137), which would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to deny or modify rate increases found to be unjustified.
But the action is now at the state level: AB 52 (Feuer), supported by a variety of consumer, community, and health groups, including Health Access California, will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee this coming Tuesday, April 5, 2011.