2010-06-18 / Top Stories

Assemblywoman Pheffer Passes Legislation

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer is pleased that legislation she supported, to authorize the State Insurance Department to approve health insurance premium rate adjustments before they take effect, has passed the Assembly and the Senate and is currently awaiting action by the Governor.

“Bringing back regulation of this industry will ensure greater accountability to families and businesses that can’t afford ever-increasing insurance premiums. Proper reviews of proposed premium hikes by the State Insurance Department take us in the right direction,” said Pheffer.

This bill establishes a process and timeframe for the Insurance Department to prior approve changes in health insurance premiums before they become effective. The process includes public notification of requested premium rate adjustments, the opportunity for public comment and public notification of the final premium determination.

Under the provisions of the bill, the Superintendent of Insurance is required to render a final determination on a proposed health insurance premium adjustment within 60 days or it is deemed effective. In instances where the Superintendent requires additional information to render his decision, the bill provides a maximum of 20 additional days for a final determination to be made.

“It is vital we make certain that premiums are set according to the true cost of doing business, not to pad insurance companies’ bottom lines. I have long been a proponent of ensuring that people are put before profits when it comes to our health care system. The passage of this measure is one more step toward that goal,” said Pheffer.

The bill also increases the minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) – the amount of premiums required to pay health claims – to 82 percent.

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