Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–March 7, 2013 – Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement on introducing the Health Insurance Rate Review Act:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky yesterday introduced the Health Insurance Rate Review Act of 2013 to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to block or modify unreasonable health insurance rate increases in states where insurance regulators lack the authority to do so. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
“When individuals, families and small business owners purchase health insurance, they deserve to know that the premiums they pay are reasonable,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The evidence shows that health consumers benefit if they live in states where insurance regulators have and use the authority to prevent unreasonable price hikes. Unfortunately, in too many states, like Illinois, that authority is missing. This bill is a common-sense solution that gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services backup authority to prevent excessive premiums because everyone – no matter where they live or do business – deserves reasonable insurance rates.”
“In California and 14 other states, consumers continue to face unreasonable health insurance rate hikes,” said Senator Feinstein. “Regulators in these states lack the authority to block or modify these unjustified increases in the individual and small group markets, even when they are found to be excessive.
“Candidly, this is unacceptable. I tried to include regulatory rate review in the health reform law that passed Congress in 2010, but without further legislative action, consumers will continue to be at the mercy of health insurance companies as their premiums grow beyond the rate of medical inflation.”
In addition Feinstein said, “The Health Insurance Rate Review Act of 2013 is a common sense solution to the problem. The bill establishes a federal fallback rate review process that grants the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to block or modify rate increases that are excessive, unjustified or unfairly discriminatory when the state insurance commissioner does not have or use the authority to do so.”