INSURANCE: Initiative would allow state to oversee health plans.
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/31/2013 09:02:48 PM PST
Updated: 01/31/2013 09:17:35 PM PST

As about 730,000 California health insurance consumers’ rates rise an average 17.5 percent today, a consumer group is renewing its support for a ballot initiative to rein in costs.

The group, Consumer Watchdog, called the hikes announced last year outrageous, but representatives from Anthem Blue Cross and the California Association of Health Plans said the boosts were necessary and in line with industry norms and federal health care requirements.

Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, said her group supports a state proposition that will appear on the November 2014 ballot that would give California the authority to publicly review rate increases and reject those that are excessive.

Janice Rocco, a deputy commissioner at the California Department of Insurance, said her group was reviewing the rate hike filing by Anthem and would release a report likely by the end of next week.

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