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Feinstein Testifies on Need for Fair Health Insurance Oversight

Bill would protect consumers from unjustified rate increases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on state practices to review health insurance rates.

Senator Feinstein is the sponsor of the Health Insurance Rate Authority Act of 2011, a bill that would close a loophole in current law and prevent insurance companies in all states from implementing unjustified health insurance rate increases.

The legislation would give the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to block or modify premium or rate increases that are found to be excessive, unjustified, or unfairly discriminatory in those states where the state insurance commissioner does not have the appropriate authority.

“While the cost of health insurance continues to rise for individuals, insurance companies, particularly the largest for-profit companies enjoy unprecedented profits,” Senator Feinstein said during the hearing.

Senator Feinstein added:“Consumers are not uniformly protected from egregious rate increases. I believe that what should be standardized is the authority to block or modify unjustified premium rate increases.”

Text of the senator’s full testimony is available on the senator’s website here. A YouTube video of the testimony is available here. And additional information on the hearing is available on the HELP Committee’s website here.