WASHINGTON, DC — New data released today showing that premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $13,375 annually for family coverage means Congress must adopt health insurance premium regulation in health care reform, according to Consumer Watchdog.
A new report released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation underscores the need for Congress to regulate health insurance premium increases, especially if Americans are required to buy health insurance policies. Under the House bill and a recently released outline of the Senate Finance Committee legislation, all Americans would be required to show proof of health insurance or face tax fines. Those that do not have employer provided care could be required to pay the full cost of insurance.
"Middle-income consumers struggling to keep up with household expenses can’t afford to spend thirteen thousand on health care. The current legislation would actually encourage insurance companies to raise rates in order to increase profits," said Jerry Flanagan of Consumer Watchdog. "If the government is going to require all Americans to buy health insurance, then the government has the responsibility to make insurance affordable. Congress must require every state to adopt a ‘prior approval’ system for health insurance rate increases."
California’s landmark property and casualty insurance reform law, Proposition 103, includes a "prior approval" system for rates requiring insurers to seek permission from government regulators and justify rate increases. Since 1988, California’s Proposition 103 has saved drivers $62 billion while fostering a competitive and still profitable insurance market.
The average cost of family health insurance climbed 5 percent in 2008, making it the 10th straight year that health care premiums have increased faster than workers’ wages and overall inflation.
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Consumer Watchdog is a nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization with offices in Washington, D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. Find us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org