Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has signed a bill that could give the state insurance commissioner the authority to regulate health insurance rates.

If the newly enacted bill, Senate Substitute 1 for Delaware Senate Bill 35, takes effect as written, the commissioner will have the ability to verify that proposed rates are adequate, non-discriminatory and not excessive before approving them, officials say.

Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, Delaware Insurance Department staffers and Delaware state Sen. Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, Del., wrote the bill.

The top 5 health carriers now cover about 88% of privately insured Delaware residents, Stewart says.

“With so few companies holding such a large percentage of the market, it is critical for the insurance department to monitor rates,” Stewart says in a statement.

More information about the bill is available here