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1,600 Call For Action On Rate Hikes

Earlier this month Progress Texas teamed up with Texas Well and Healthy in a joint effort calling on Texas legislators and Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman to quit dragging their feet on reviewing unfair and unjustified insurance rate hikes. The Affordable Care Act calls for the TDI to automatically review any insurance rate hike 10% or more to determine whether or not it's a justified increase. Unfortunately, six months have passed since the first of these rate increases in Texas and we are still waiting for TDI to make their first ruling.

Since the launch of that campaign we have collected almost 1,600 petition signatures from across the state.

Today, Texas Well and Healthy released the following statement regarding the campaign:

AUSTIN — The Texas agency whose job it is to be a watchdog over the health insurance industry is dragging its feet on reviewing steep price increases by insurers, said a coalition of health care and progressive advocates today. Although the nation’s health care reform law calls for reviews of health insurance rate hikes of 10 percent or higher, the Texas Department of Insurance has failed to finalize any reviews to date, according to a petition signed by nearly 1,600 Texans from Texas Well and Healthy and Progress Texas. The petition goes on to note that the department has allowed at least one review to remain pending for nearly seven months and has failed to rule on a rate hike from an insurer with rate increases that five other states already found to be unjustified.

“In these tough times, families can’t afford to overpay for their health care. This is about holding insurers accountable for unreasonable price hikes,” said Mimi Garcia, the organizing director of the Texas Well and Healthy campaign. “Today we are delivering a message to state leaders: Texans deserve to know which insurance companies are sending premiums sky-high for no reason other than their own profits.”

The petition to Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman and lawmakers was signed by 1,590 Texans and calls on the department to complete the delayed reviews, improve transparency and provide summary information on all health insurance rate changes online.

“Protecting families from unjustified rate hikes requires making sure Texans know when insurers are raising or lowering rates, as well as why they’re doing it, by how much and whether it’s justified,” said Laura Guerra-Cardus with the Children’s Defense Fund – Texas, a member of the campaign. “It’s time that the Texas Department of Insurance publicly posts the information consumers have a right to know.”