By Anthony Silva |Staff Writer|
California may become the 36th state to enact regulation on health insurance rates.
Proposition 45 will be on the ballot in this coming election and could allegedly make health care more affordable for California residents.
If the regulation passes, it could make health insurance rates as stable as those offered for auto insurance, which have only increased 3.8 percent over the past 20 years.
One health insurance provider’s rates have reportedly seen a 20 percent increase over the past two years, according to the non-profit organization Justify Rates.
The measure was modeled after Proposition 103, which was passed in 1988 and currently regulates automobile and home insurance rates in California.
If passed, any changes proposed to health insurance rates would be subject to the approval of Dave Jones, California’s Insurance Commissioner.
California residents would allegedly have access to the entire approval process as any notices, court hearings or findings related to health insurance would allegedly be made public, according to Jones.
Proposition 45 would require insurance providers to submit sworn statements relating to the accuracy of the information being provided to California residents, according to a voter information site, ballotpedia.org.
Currently there are 35 other states including New York and Washington that are requiring health insurance providers to get approval before changing their rates, according to Justify Rates.
When Proposition 103 passed over 20 years ago, the “Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act” was put into law.
“Because of proposition 103, auto insurance rates have gone up only 3.8 percent since 1988 and California drivers have saved over $60 billion as a result,” said Jones on a conference call with the Chronicle and other collegiate reporters.
Supporters of Proposition 45 include the California Democratic Party, the California Nurses Association and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
The California Republican Party and the California Hospital Association have publicly opposed Proposition 45.
The opposition has argued that if Proposition 45 passes, it would give one politician too much power over the medical treatment of California residents and that they could be swayed by special interests, according to ballotpedia.org.
When asked about the potential effect the regulations could have on medical treatment, Jones responded, “Proposition 45 would not give the insurance commissioner authority over treatment decisions.”
“This measure is only about insurance rates,” added Jones.
Currently, under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance rates are being regulated by the Insurance Commission Board.
Many of those in opposition of Proposition 45 feel like California residents should give the board more time to do its job, according to a CBS News report.
“I honestly feel like if one person is in charge of health insurance, this would create more red tape for doctors and nurses to deal with in order to care for their patients,” said Joseph Estipona, a nursing major.
According to Justify Rates, the current landscape for health insurance in California gives all of the power to the providers and leaves the consumers in the dark.
“Anthem Blue Cross increased their rates over 20 percent during the past two years. If Proposition 45 passes, the insurance commissioner could order rebates as early as the first quarter of 2015; this means that California residents could benefit from this measure almost immediately,” said Jones.