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Rate Regulation for Health Insurance: Biden, Obama Administration Should Look to CA's Model Law Which Has Saved Drivers $62 Billion Since 1988
Date:9/22/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The consumer group that pioneered the most successful insurance premium regulation law in the nation, California's Proposition 103, today said only the extension of such "prior approval" regulation to health insurance can begin to make insurance affordable in the wake of double digit premium increases that have dramatically out paced wages. Under the proposals in Congress, Americans who do not purchase insurance policies would pay thousands of dollars in penalties.

Today Vice President Joe Biden will speak at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' annual conference about rate regulation, a process that allows State Insurance Commissioners to review rate increases levied by insurance companies.

Consumer Watchdog has repeatedly called on the Obama Administration and Congress to adopt California's insurance rate regulation that requires prior approval of rate increases, allowing an elected insurance commissioner to reject rates deemed excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory. Unlike other rate regulation, "prior approval" allows an insurance commissioner to review and reject rates before they are passed on to the consumer.

California's Proposition 103 prior approval rate regulation has saved drivers in California $62 billion on auto insurance rates since 1988, and similar savings would be expected for health insurance rates. Since 2003, Consumer Watchdog has saved $1.7 billion by challenging unnecessary premium increases using Proposition 103's public intervention process.

"California's prior approval rate regulation is the nation's most successful insurance regulation and is a model for health insurance reform. Prior approval is a time tested and successful tool to restrain rampant insurance company profiteering and waste," said Jerry Flanagan, health policy director of Consumer Wat
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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