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White House Wants to Limit Health Insurance Rate Hikes

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New government power to prevent excessive health insurance rate increases will be included in proposed health care reform legislation to be introduced Monday by President Barack Obama.

Under the bill, the health and human services secretary would have authority to review and forbid premium increases by private insurers, The New York Times reported.

In addition, a new Health Insurance Rate Authority would prepare an annual report outlining reasonable rate increases based on market conditions.

The White House said the seven-member rate board would include consumer representatives, a physician, an insurance industry representative and others such as health economists and actuaries, The Times reported.

The move to control health insurance rate increases comes in response to recent news of large premium hikes in a number of states.

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