Covered California Questions Measure To Regulate Health Insurance Prices

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Covered California officials are raising concerns about Proposition 45, a November ballot measure that would regulate the price of health insurance.

The measure would allow the state insurance commissioner to reject health insurance price increases found to be unreasonable.

Covered California officials question whether it would force insurers to focus solely on price, at the expense of quality.

The California Association of Health Plans, an insurance industry trade group, warns that if Proposition 45 passes, approved rates might not be in place by the start of Covered California's enrollment period each year.

Carmen Balber of the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog, the main sponsor of the measure, said those concerns are unfounded. Balber believes the measure plugs a loophole in Obamacare.

“Health reform is requiring Californians to buy insurance, but nothing in the law right now ensures they’re paying a fair price," Barber explained. "Prop. 45 would give the state insurance commissioner the ability to say no when an insurance company is charging an excessive rate.”

California regulators already have the power to control the price of home and auto insurance. Balber said that saves consumers millions of dollars each year.

Thirty-five other states allow regulators to review and approve health insurance rates.

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