This story is potentially good news for doctors but bad news for insurance
The state of California is in an interesting battle of wills, with a ballot
up for consideration that, if passed, would mean patients get the identical
level of protection against health insurance premiums considered unfair
as doctors get through their practice. In plain English, the rate regulation
being proposed would drop the current insurance rates by $21 million.
This is great news for patients but not so good news for insurance companies
who make good money on overcharging medical health professionals for malpractice
The likely upshot? Even though the insurance companies may be forced to
reduce rates, you can be sure they will find a creative way to hike rates
some other way. The way this is supposed to work is that the state’s
Department of Insurance will use a prior approval rate regulation authority
to drop premiums for medical negligence insurance for a group of 20,000
medical health professionals.
It is not just this latest group to get lower rates; as six other medical
malpractice insurers had also been told, in no uncertain terms, to cut
their premiums by $44 million. The state appears to be deadly serious
about putting the brakes on overcharging, a refreshing change to say the
least, as it is illegal in California for insurance companies to charge
excessive or unfair premiums for medical malpractice. Next on the proposed
ballot? Seeking protection for premiums paid out by patients for their
The vote on this issue is not until November, and many are viewing it with
eager anticipation. Who wouldn’t want to pay less for their health
insurance, more so now given the fact the Supreme Court just handed down
an endorsement of Obama’s health care reform mandating Americans
have health insurance by 2014. If the ballot passes, it would potentially
affect 5.5 million people. If this were to be implemented in other states,
insurance companies would receive the comeuppance that many feel is their
due. Americans are tired of being gouged on health insurance premiums.
Not surprisingly, insurance companies are not happy about this potential
turn of the screw. Most insurance outfits loathe to publicly justify or
prove their need to hike rates before they go into effect. It is only
fair that patients get the same kind of protection.