Feuer Issues Statement About Blue Shield’s Decision to Cancel Major Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Responding to Blue Shield of California’s announcement March 16 that it will cancel further health insurance rate hikes for individual policyholders until January 2012, Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), issued the following statement:

“Families and businesses should not have to depend on the whim of an insurance company to halt a major rate increase. Without a robust rate approval process in place, Californians will continue to experience these outrageous increases,” said Feuer. “I introduced Assembly Bill 52 because state officials need the power to reject rates that insurers can’t justify.”

Originally set to take effect on May 1, Blue Shield canceled rate increases that would have affected nearly 200,000 customers after receiving pressure from consumers and state officials.

In December 2010, Feuer introduced AB 52 that requires health plans and insurers to receive approval from the state for such rate increases. The legislation would ensure that such increases would have to be reviewed and approved by the state before being imposed upon customers. Specifically, the measure would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to raising health care premiums, copayments or deductibles. It would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process.

In 2010, Feuer and then-Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) jointly introduced a far-reaching plan to establish a permanent rate review and approval process after a similar proposed rate increase by Anthem Blue Cross. That measure was ultimately defeated in the Senate.

For more information on Assembly member Feuer, visit http://www.assembly.ca.gov/feuer.