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Schwarzenegger weighs two bills to boost insurance regulation

September 8, 2010

California lawmakers last month rejected a bill that would have subjected health insurance companies to the same kind of regulation that auto insurers now face, requiring them to get prior approval from the state when they want to raise their rates. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably would have vetoed that bill anyway. Instead, the Legislature sent the governor two bills that seek to strengthen the state’s oversight of the industry while stopping short of direct rate regulation. It will be interesting to see if these more modest bills, which are still opposed by the insurance industry, escape Schwarzenegger’s veto pen in the weeks ahead.

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Insurance oversight advances but rate regulation stalls

August 30, 2010

The Assembly on Monday approved legislation to toughen oversight of health insurance rate hikes but the Senate has rejected, at least for now, a measure to require state approval before companies can increase their premiums.

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Private health plans push back against governor’s proposal

July 12, 2010

The managed health care industry is pushing back against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal for more transparency and state oversight — but not regulation — of the premiums insurance companies charge their customers.

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Schwarzenegger proposes insurance rate review, but not regulation

July 7, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has opposed regulating the rates charged by health insurance companies, has submitted a proposal to the federal government for a state program to review and publicize rate increases before they go into effect.

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Health insurance regulation bill clears Assembly

June 2, 2010

The state Assembly has passed legislation that would allow the state government to regulate health insurance rates for the first time, requiring insurers to seek and obtain prior approval before increasing premiums paid by consumers.

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The Blue Cross business model

March 11, 2010

Anthem Blue Cross has been under scrutiny for its recent rate hikes. But that scrutiny should go beyond the rate hikes to their overall business practices—and the broken health system that rewards bad behavior. The company has perfected a business model based on collecting premiums from the healthy and avoiding as much as possible actually providing coverage to those who are sick.

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Assembly panel presses health regulators for answers

March 10, 2010

A bipartisan majority on an Assembly committee that oversees the state bureaucracy is turning up the heat on California’s insurance and health plan regulators to explain what they’ve done to help people who have been kicked off their insurance coverage after filing claims. The members of the Assembly committee on Accountability and Administrative Review also want the departments to do more to make sure that a recent drop in the number of coverage rescissions is not temporary.

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State rule can’t control health care costs

February 15, 2010

State regulators, including Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, are hyping their deal with Anthem Blue Cross to postpone a big planned health insurance rate increase until at least May 1. But the rule that will govern whether that rate hike can ultimately go into effect is probably not very well suited to controlling health care costs.

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Answer the phone, see your patients

January 20, 2010

After eight years of study, California’s HMO Czar has finally adopted regs designed to push doctors to answer their phones and see patients on a timely basis. Sounds good, but how will that work in practice?

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