KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Calif. Insurance Official Pans Rate Map Proposal, Warns Of 20% Hikes

California's insurance commissioner says that residents in some areas of the state could see premiums rise 20 percent if a proposal in the state legislature to split California into six insurance rates zones is approved. He urges an 18-region plan.

Los Angeles Times: Health Insurance Rate-Setting Map Would Increase Costs, Official Says
A proposal to split California into six zones for setting health insurance rates would drive premiums up as much as 23 percent for some policyholders next year as part of the federal health care overhaul, the state insurance commissioner is warning (Terhune, 2/20).

Sacramento Bee: Insurance Commissioner Touts New Plan For CA Health-Care Regions
Saying the Legislature's existing proposal could exacerbate rate shock, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones unveiled his own proposal Tuesday for dividing California into geographic regions for implementing federal health care reform. Jones vowed to appear Wednesday before Senate and Assembly health committees to push his 18-region plan instead of existing legislative proposals for six regions in 2014 and 13 regions in 2015. "I believe very strongly that we should draw regions in a way that minimizes rate increases," Jones said. Because costs of providing health care differ among communities, residents could find themselves paying higher or lower premiums based on the extent to which regions drawn by the state differ from those currently used by health insurance firms (Sanders, 2/19).

San Francisco Chronicle: 20% Health Insurance Hike For Some In Bay Area?
Bay Area consumers could see health insurance rates rise by more than 20 percent under proposals being considered by state lawmakers to carry out the new federal health legislation, according to the state Insurance Department. The federal health law requires most Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, and many people will be purchasing coverage through state- or federal-run insurance exchanges, or virtual marketplaces. The law, often referred to as Obamacare, will prohibit health insurers from rejecting or charging consumers more based on their medical histories. Charging more based on age will be limited so older consumers cannot pay more than three times what a younger person would pay (Colliver, 2/19).

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