Managers of California’s state-based public health insurance exchange say a proposed rate control measure could backfire, by hurting their ability to bargain with health insurers.
Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, included an analysis of Proposition 45 in today’s exchange board meeting packet. If approved and implemented as written, the ballot measure would give the state insurance commissioner the authority to reject proposed health insurance rate increases, and to conduct backward-looking reviews of rates approved for 2012 through 2015.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has said that he already has the authority to change property-casualty rate increase requests. He says Proposition 45 would help him prevent excessive rates from taking effect in the individual and small-group markets.
In some states, a public exchange offers any qualified health plans (QHPs) available from any insurers willing to meet exchange listing criteria. Covered California is an “active purchase,” and it tries to bargain with QHP issuers to get them to offer better benefits and lower rates.
Charles Bacchi, executive vice president of the California Association of Health Plans (CAHP), wrote to Covered California to say that health insurers in the state already face tough state and federal regulations, and tough negotiations with Covered California.