Senator Shields carries insurance rate reform legislation to passage in Senate

Salem, OR - Senator Chip Shields (D-Portland) carried insurance rate reform legislation to passage in the state senate today. House Bill 2605A, sponsored by Representative Rob Nosse (D-Portland), requires the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to issue preliminary decisions on health insurance rates and establishes a grievance process for anyone adversely affected by the agency's decision on an insurance company's requested rate increase or decrease.

"This bill is about increasing transparency and accountability to lower the cost of health insurance for Oregon consumers," said Sen. Shields on the floor. Sen. Shields has been a leading force in making health insurers justify their premium increases in public rather than behind closed doors.

Currently, insurers must have proposed insurance rates approved by DCBS in a process called rate review. HB 2605A requires DCBS to notify the insurer and consumers about the rationale behind a preliminary decision and then allows any aggrieved individual to appeal the decision to the Director of DCBS in an expedited appeal process. The bill is the result of a workgroup convened by Rep. Nosse with Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali, consumer advocates, and insurers.

"I appreciate the compromise and discussion between consumer advocates, insurance companies & the Insurance Division that led to HB 2605. I believe this bill strengthens our already nationally lauded rate review process."

HB 2605A passed the Senate on a 25-5 vote and is on its way to the Governor for her signature.

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