The California Assembly Committee on health is scheduled to vote today on AB52, legislation drafted by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) that would empower state regulators to reject excessive rate hikes on consumers and businesses from private health insurers.
Over the course of the last year, there have been numerous instances where private insurance companies have attempted to surreptitiously raise rates on consumers, including Anthem’s notorious attempt to raise rates by as much as 39% last year, and the recent attempt by Blue Shield to raise rates on individual policy holders for the third time since October.
AB 52 would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to any attempt to raise health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles. It would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process, thus empowering California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to put the brakes on attempts by the insurance industry to artificially raise the cost of our health care!
In a letter released by Senator Diane Feinstein this week urging support for AB 52, the Senator stated, “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.”