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Consumer Watchdog Hails House Cost-Control Plan to Regulate Health Insurance Rates, Urges Lawmakers to Combine It With Strong 'Public Option'
Date:11/6/2009

having multiple tools," said Flanagan. "The public option, by creating a free-market competitor to private insurers, would have a broad effect. Regulations, by stopping unjustifiable attempts to raise rates for different classes of policies, are the more specific tool."

The California regulations, which cover property and casualty insurance including auto insurance, have saved California drivers $62 billion dollars over 20 years, according to a 2008 Consumer Federation of America study. The regulations also curbed rates for medical malpractice insurance, succeeding where caps on court awards in malpractice cases did not.

The House amendment

Section 104, beginning on page 3 of the amendment to H.R. 3962, provides:

(1) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with states, shall require health insurance companies to justify the reasons for premium rate increases prior to implementing them. The insurers are required to post the justifications on their websites.

(2) The Secretary of Health and Human Services will provide $1 billion in grants to assist states "in reviewing and if appropriate under State law, approving premium increases for health insurance coverage . . . ."

(3) Any state receiving a federal grant shall provide the federal government information about increases in premium rates. In addition, states will be required to make recommendations about whether particular health insurers should be excluded from participation in the Health Insurance Exchange "based on a pattern of excessive or unjustified premium increases."

The amendment, offered by Representative John Dingell (D-MI), is available at: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2009/November/04/~/media/Files/2009/rules_comm_dingell.ash<
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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