Santa Monica, CA – Consumer Watchdog Campaign said that the smaller than usual rate hikes announced by Covered California today are good news for consumers and resulted in part from the presence of Proposition 45 on the ballot, which would require health insurance companies to get state approval before raising rates as they must in 35 other states.
“California health insurance companies learned from the passage of the Affordable Care Act that raising rates significantly, as Blue Cross of California tried to just prior to the federal law’s passage, will antagonize the public and create conditions for reform,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog and the proponent of Proposition 45. “With health insurance companies facing Proposition 45’s accountability on the ballot, they agreed to much smaller rate hikes than those endured by consumers in 2014, which ranged from 22% to 88% over 2013 rates. Health insurance companies know better than to spit in the eyes of voters before they decide whether to enact greater accountability for the industry. In 2015, Proposition 45’s passage will similarly guarantee lower rates. Health insurance companies need to face both the carrot of negotiation and the stick of regulation if consumers are not to continue to endure the double digit rate hikes that have plagued Californians for the last decade.”
Five insurance companies – Blue Cross and parent company Wellpoint, Kaiser, Blue Shield, Health Net and United Healthcare – have given more than $25 million in campaign contributions to oppose Prop 45 and protect their ability to charge as much as they want without accountability, transparency or disclosure.
More than 1 million California policyholders recently faced over $250,000,000 in rate hikes that were deemed “unreasonable” by regulators who had no power to stop the hikes. Prop 45 will stop the price gouging by requiring health insurance companies to be transparent, publicly justify rates, and get approval before premiums can increase.
Consumer Watchdog said new transparency and the leverage given to regulators would produce even bigger premium reductions than the $250 million in hikes already deemed unreasonable.
Proposition 45 will:
• Require health insurance companies to publicly disclose and justify, under penalty of perjury, proposed rate changes before they take effect
• Require public hearings on proposed rate increases.
• Give Californians the right to challenge excessive and unfair premium rate increases.
• Give the insurance commissioner authority to reject unjustified rate increases.
• Extend its protections against rate hikes to 6 million individuals and small business owners, including the 1.4 million Covered California enrollees.
For more information visit www.YesOn45.org
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Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign – Yes on 45, a coalition of consumer advocates, attorneys, policyholders, and nurses. 777 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 4050, Los Angeles, CA 90017. Major Funding by Consumer Watchdog Campaign and Thomas Steyer.