Dear Editor: The November election is just around the corner and unfortunately there is some very deceptive advertising coming out about Proposition 45, which if passed could save Californians up to $1 billion per year by avoiding unreasonable rate hikes by the health insurance industry, according to a Consumer Watchdog analysis.
The insurance industry is twisting the facts to oppose this proposition. There is no “independent commission” in California at the present time with power to stop health insurers from imposing unreasonable rate hikes. Hiding behind the phony name “Californians Against Higher Healthcare Costs,” the insurance companies want to fool voters into thinking Prop 45 is bad for Californians.
Since 2002, health insurance rates are up 185 percent in California, five times faster than the rate of inflation. This includes $250 million in rate hikes that the California Department of Insurance found were unreasonable, but at the present time they do not have the power to stop. Prop 45, if passed, will give the insurance commissioner that power.
Thirty-five other states regulate health insurance rates; residents of Oregon each paid an average of $1,200 per year less than Californians for their health insurance.
Five health insurance companies control 88 percent of the insurance market in California: Kaiser, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, Health Net and United Healthcare. Anthem Blue Cross had $730 million in profits in the first quarter of this year, and Kaiser Permanente had $2 billion in profits in the first two quarters. Insurance companies have spent over $37 million so far in their deceptive campaign against Prop 45 (Kaiser spent $14.6 million).
Prop 45 will require health insurance companies to open up their books to the public, to publicly justify and get approval for rate hikes. Prop 45 will give the insurance commissioner the power to reject unreasonable rate hikes of our health insurance premiums and order refunds of excessive rates. It will apply the same rules to health insurance that have saved California drivers over $100 billion since 1988. It will prevent health insurers from using policy holder premium dollars for lobbying and political campaigns, such as the $37 million they are spending against Prop 45. It will prohibit excessive profits and allow the state to return excessive reserves to policyholders.
Vote yes on Prop 45.
Published: Oct. 2, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 25