The Texas Department of Insurance has been reviewing health insurance rate proposals since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Regulators have been scrutinizing any insurer that aims to raise rates by 10% or higher, but their efforts may be in vain. According to the Department of Insurance, regulators do not have the authority to block any rate proposal that they deem excessive. They also do not have the means to distribute information regarding rate hikes amongst consumers. This is because the state does not have the laws to grant regulators this kind of authority.
During a legislative session last week, lawmakers were proposing ways to shoot down the Affordable Care Act. The law requires states to have an effective rate review process lest federal insurance regulators take control of the system and do it themselves. Legislators have trouble accepting the possibility that the federal government would have more authority. Insurance regulators believe that a little more authority granted to them would be a simple issue and would provide more protections to consumers against excessive rate hikes from insurers.
The Department of Health and Human Services is currently looking into the shortcomings of the state’s regulatory system. If the system is deemed ineffective, federal regulators will move to take control and begin reviewing rate proposals coming from insurers. Lawmakers have claimed that they will be looking into granting more authority to state regulators in order to avoid federal intervention.