Last year, California was granted the power to scrutinize proposed health insurance rate increases by insurance companies. Insurance companies planning to increase their plan premiums by more than 10 percent are subject to rate reviews. Excessive premium increases would necessitate insurers to publicly justify the unjust rate hikes.
Despite the implementation of rate reviews, little help is seen by millions of consumers. California health insurance premiums continue to skyrocket making it hard for Californians to afford health care coverage.
Even though California can publicly shame and persuade insurers to prevent proposed increases, it still lacks the power to reject the proposed excessive rates by insurance companies. The state couldn’t even stop Anthem Blue Cross from increasing one of its coverage rates by 16.1 percent even though it was publicly declared that the planned rates were excessive.
Consumers Demand California Health Insurance Rate Regulations
Since 2002, Californians have seen a 153 percent increase in employer health insurance. Because of this, the desire to regulate California health insurance premiums increased more than ever. Consumer groups want regulators to do more than embarrass and persuade. They want to put an end to excessive premium increases. A consumer advocate group even stated that they will begin gathering signatures from people to help set up real rate control.
Even though the Department of Insurance was able to reduce, postpone and withdraw 50 out of the 300 rate changes last year, it’s not enough. According to Deputy Commissioner Janice Rocco, in order to adequately protect consumers, having the authority to reject excessive California health insurance premium increases is necessary. However, there are still ways that consumers can afford health coverage despite increasing premiums.