California lawmakers passed a bill that provides more transparency on healthcare premium rate changes, while rejecting another bill that would have given state regulators the authority to halt rate increases outright. A bill that would have created emergency department mandates also failed to pass. Among the bills that did pass was the Health Insurance Transparency and Accountability Act, which would require health insurers to disclose the criteria used to determine premium rate increases and notify customers of rate changes at least 60 days before they go into effect. Insurers would also be required to disclose criteria used in rejecting coverage, or when offering coverage at a higher rate. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the bill’s passage. A bill that would have given state regulators oversight to reject excessive premium rate increases failed, as did a bill that would have required all acute-care hospitals to assess crowding levels in their emergency departments every four to six hours using a scoring system that considers variables such as the number of boarded patients and average wait times (Aug. 16, p. 12). Schwarzenegger has until Sept. 30 to sign the bills that passed.
Late News: Calif. lawmakers pass bill providing rate transparency
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