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News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: September 28, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Jones Reacts to Report Highlighting Premium Increases in Employer-Provided Health Insurance

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today issued the following statement after the Kaiser Family Foundation released its 2011 Employer Health Benefits Survey, which found that premiums for employer-provided health insurance rose by 9 percent last year:  

"The Kaiser Family Foundation report of dramatic and ongoing health insurance rate hikes underscores once again why we need to pass Assembly Bill 52 to give us the authority to reject excessive health insurance rate hikes. Many employers, already struggling to keep their businesses afloat in this economy, are now seeing the cost of health insurance as one of their highest expenses. Many employers can no longer afford to provide health insurance for their employees. Many families are barely surviving during these precarious financial times. An increase in their health insurance costs is simply not sustainable. We cannot continue down this road of unchecked rate hikes. This latest finding is yet another example of the damage these increases can cause to the well-being of employers and our economy. Even more exasperating is the fact that these increases far outpace the rate of medical inflation, by roughly three to one, and come at a time of record-breaking profits for insurers.  

"Both during my time in the Assembly and as Insurance Commissioner, I have worked hard to remedy this situation, and it is disheartening to see California without the authority to reject excessive rate hikes. However, I remain steadfastly committed to working toward the passage of AB 52, which will be eligible for a vote in the State Senate in January. Everywhere I go Californians tell me, unequivocally, that they want the Insurance Commissioner to have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rates. It is time for California to join the other 34 states that have the authority to reject these excessive health insurance rate hikes."

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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