California Healthline: Will Rate Regulation Return to Legislature?

by David Gorn

What’s next after Proposition 45? Will the subject surface again in the Legislature? California voters yesterday rejected the proposal to give the state insurance commissioner power to deny health insurance rate increases deemed excessive.

“I’d be surprised if it wasn’t back in some form,” said Micah Weinberg, senior policy adviser at the Bay Area Council.

“Probably as a piece of legislation rather than a ballot measure again,” Weinberg said. “Theoretically, you could come up with a rate regulation proposal that could get some support. But I just don’t know if there’s an appetite [among legislators] to do it.”

Regulating the health insurance industry has had a lot of traction in the Legislature with passage of legislation to establish medical loss ratios for health insurers and a bill by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to review any large-group premium rate increases by health plans and insurers that exceed 5% of the previous year’s rate.

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