Rate regulation decreases these rates by an additional $21 million.
Should a pending ballot initiative pass, patients in California will receive the same level of protection against health insurance premiums that are deemed unfair as doctors are receiving through their business insurance.
The Department of Insurance in the state has announced that it will also be using its prior approval rate regulation authority to decrease the premiums for medical malpractice insurance for the approximately 20,000 medical professionals who are covered by The Doctors Company.
The decrease in rates should total approximately $21 million.
The leading six medical malpractice insurers in the state have been ordered by the Department Insurance to shrink their premiums by a total of $44 million since March 2012.
The law in the state makes it illegal for insurers to charge rates that are considered to be excessive or unfair for business insurance coverage against malpractice for doctors. However, it does not yet provide this same regulation for the premiums paid by patients for their health plans.
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In November, voters will face a ballot initiative in the state which would allow the same regulations to the rates paid by patients for their health coverage. It would require insurers to publicly justify and receive approval for any proposed increases to their rates for the health plans that are sold to almost 5.5 million individuals in the state.
The top health insurers in the state, Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Kaiser, and Aetna, are all working aggressively against this ballot initiative, and have the support of the California Medical Association, which is acting as the public face of their campaign in opposition to it.
According to a Consumer Watchdog Campaign representative, Carmen Balber, “This initiative will make health insurance companies follow rules that most other insurers in California already follow, and publicly justify and prove the need for rate increases before they take effect. Patients deserve the same protection against unfair rates that doctors, drivers and homeowners already enjoy.”
Balber pointed out that it is very surprising that the California Medical Association has chosen to take the side of the insurers as opposed to the patients, and to work against efforts to improve the fairness of prices with a law that would match one already benefitting doctors for their business insurance.