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News: 2011 Press Release
For Release: April 27, 2011
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Insurance Commissioner Jones Applauds Passage of AB 52 by Assembly Health Committee
Bill would give Commissioner authority to reject excessive health care premiums
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that the Assembly Health Committee has passed AB 52, authored by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), by a vote of 12 to 7. The bill would protect consumers and businesses by giving the Insurance Commissioner the power to reject excessive health insurance rate increases.
"On a regular basis, health insurers announce significant premium increases that far surpass the rate of medical inflation. It has become commonplace for policyholders to experience multiple rate increases over the course of a given year," Commissioner Jones said. "Since I took office, Californians have made it exceedingly clear that they want me to reject excessive rate increases, but I do not have this authority as Insurance Commissioner - AB 52 can change this. That is why I have partnered with Assembly Member Feuer to do all that we can to ensure AB 52 becomes law. As a member of the Assembly, I introduced this legislation three times and the need for it has only grown, as health insurance continues to become unaffordable for more and more Californians."
"Today the Assembly Health Committee recognized that Californians should not have to depend on the whim of an insurance company to halt a major rate increase," said the bill's author, Assembly Member Feuer. "This was a crucial first step toward getting AB 52 signed into law, but until that happens, California families will continue to live in fear that they are just one rate hike away from no longer being able to afford health insurance."
Introduced in December 2010, AB 52 would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to raising health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles. The bill will now head to the Assembly Appropriations committee and upon passage will face a vote on the Assembly Floor.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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