Last year, California was granted the power to scrutinize proposed health insurance rate increases by insurance companies. Insurance companies planning to increase their plan premiums by more than 10 percent are subject to rate reviews. Excessive premium increases would necessitate insurers to publicly justify the unjust rate hikes.
Despite the implementation of rate reviews, little help is seen by millions of consumers. California health insurance premiums continue to skyrocket making it hard for Californians to afford health care coverage.
Even though California can publicly shame and persuade insurers to prevent proposed increases, it still lacks the power to reject the proposed excessive rates by insurance companies. The state couldn’t even stop Anthem Blue Cross from increasing one of its coverage rates by 16.1 percent even though it was publicly declared that the planned rates were excessive.
Consumers Demand California Health Insurance Rate Regulations
Since 2002, Californians have seen a 153 percent increase in employer health insurance. Because of this, the desire to regulate California health insurance premiums increased more than ever. Consumer groups want regulators to do more than embarrass and persuade. They want to put an end to excessive premium increases. A consumer advocate group even stated that they will begin gathering signatures from people to help set up real rate control.
Even though the Department of Insurance was able to reduce, postpone and withdraw 50 out of the 300 rate changes last year, it’s not enough. According to Deputy Commissioner Janice Rocco, in order to adequately protect consumers, having the authority to reject excessive California health insurance premium increases is necessary. However, there are still ways that consumers can afford health coverage despite increasing premiums.
How Can Consumers Afford California Health Insurance Plans?
If you are living on a tight budget, you might be pondering whether to get health care coverage or not with premiums on the rise. There are still ways to help people afford the health coverage they need.
A high-deductible health plan is an option for people who are in good health. Compared to co-pay plans, high-deductible plans offer lower premiums by as much as 40 to 50 percent. With the passage of the health care reform law, high-deductible plans are appealing more than ever. Preventive care services are 100 percent covered with no out-of-pocket costs even before meeting your deductible. Meaning, annual physical exams and screening procedures for health conditions can be enjoyed without worrying about co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles.
You can use this added free benefit as long as you go with in-network providers. Constantly monitoring your health can help keep money in your pocket. Early detection of illness can significantly decrease your out-of-pocket medical expenses. As we all know, developing a chronic illness is harder to treat resulting in expensive medical bills.
Now is the time to get a California health insurance plan. Once you have a pre-existing condition, insurance companies can charge you higher premiums or even deny you coverage. Without health coverage, you are financially exposed to huge medical bills when illness strikes. Luckily, insurers cannot deny children with pre-existing conditions health coverage due to the Affordable Care Act mandate. As for adults, you need to wait until 2014 when health care reform fully takes its course.
While your health is good, get coverage now to keep rates low. You should also do some comparison shopping every year to get the most affordable health insurance rates from insurance companies in your area.