Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Lou Greenwald, D-6th District, and Yvonne Lopez, D-19th District, to establish a rate increase review process in the Department of Banking and Insurance for individual and small employer health benefits plans under the newly proposed state-based health exchange was approved by the full Assembly on Thursday in a vote of 58-20-0.
Currently, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), New Jersey is required to maintain a process to review health insurance rate increases according to certain criteria that identifies “unreasonable” rate increases and requires health insurance carriers to provide justifications for them. This legislation makes those federal requirements a part of New Jersey statutory law so that consumers in the state will have those protections in the event that the ACA is repealed or modified.
“The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of thousands of New Jersey residents gain access to health care for themselves and their families,” said Greenwald in a statement. “With this legislation, we are keeping health care affordable for working families by preventing unreasonable rate hikes for the insured, preserving the substantial progress we’ve made on increasing access to quality health care in New Jersey.”
Lopez said that The Affordable Care Act has changed the lives of many New Jersey families. “Protecting families against unjustified rate changes is critical to maintaining and expanding access to health care in the state for many more residents,” said Lopez.
The bill is headed to the Senate for further consideration.