Press Releases

Feinstein Statement on Passage of Health Insurance Rate Review Bill in California State Senate Committee

AB 52 grants authority to California regulators to reject excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory health insurance rate hikes

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement after the California State Senate Health Committee approved Assembly Bill 52 by a vote of 5-3.

AB 52, authored by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, requires health plans and insurers in California to seek approval from regulators before raising health care premiums, co-payments or deductibles. 

Senator Feinstein is the author of the Health Insurance Rate Review Act of 2011 (S. 137) in the U.S. Senate. The Feinstein legislation would grant the secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to block or modify health insurance premium increases that are unjustified in states where insurance commissioners do not have that authority.

“The passage of this bill by the Senate Health Committee is a major step forward to protect consumers from egregious health insurance rate hikes. I hope the entire Senate follows suit by passing this bill and urge Governor Brown to sign it,” Senator Feinstein said.

“AB 52 is critical to protect California consumers and businesses. It will give state regulators the authority to reject excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory rate increases. Right now in California, health insurance companies have a green light to raise health insurance premiums as much and as often as they want and state regulators cannot stop them. 

“In 17 states, including California, state regulators or insurance commissioners do not have authority to block or modify insurance rates that are excessive, unjustified, or discriminatory. We need this legislation because:

  • “Health insurance premiums in California have risen 134 percent since 2002, more than five times the overall rate of inflation. 
  • “Health insurance companies reported some of their highest profits in recent years.  The biggest companies recorded a net profit of $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011—an average 16 percent increase from a year earlier. 

“I will continue to push for health insurance rate authority legislation at both the state and federal level because California families deserve protection from unfair increases in their health insurance.”