Florida Health Plan Rates To Rise 13.2% On Average; Calif. Regulator Seeks Greater Authority

Florida officials release rates for 2015 health plans to be sold on the individual market. Another story examines the voter initiative being pushed by California's insurance commissioner to give his office greater power to regulate health insurance rates.

Miami Herald: Proposed Prices For Health Plans In 2015 Unveiled
Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for next year will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums, according to rate proposals unveiled Monday by the state's Office of Insurance Regulation. The rate proposals affect all Affordable Care Act-compliant health plans on the individual market, whether they're sold through the federally-run exchange or not. Small and large group health plans typically offered by employers were not included in the data released by the state (Chang and Madigan, 8/4).

The Sacramento Bee/McClatchy: Obamacare At Center Of Debate Over California Health Insurance Initiative
As state insurance commissioner, Dave Jones has the power to regulate rates for car and homeowner insurance. He can halt an insurer's proposed increase if the company can't justify the higher cost. Health insurance is another matter. The former Democratic lawmaker has spent years working to give elected commissioners regulatory authority over health insurance rates. He's asking voters in November to give him that ability with Proposition 45, asserting it's the only way to slow down spiraling premium costs (Cadelago, 8/4).

In other news about state insurance markets and the online exchanges -

NPR: Minnesotans Question State's Ailing Insurance Marketplace
Minnesota spent $100 million on creating its new health care website, and while the state has added some 180,000 people to insurance coverage, some are asking whether it was worth it for the state to embark on its own — or even have an exchange at all (Stawicki, 8/4).

The Associated Press: Vermont: State Severs Link To Website Designer
The state is ending its relationship with CGI, the company that designed the troubled website used to sign people up for health insurance. ... The state has hired the company Optum to continue work on the website. CGI will continue to host the website (8/4).

The Oregonian: Five Things To Know About The Latest Federal Health Law Fracas And Its Oregon Fallout
Late last month, a video of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber discussing the Patient and Protection Affordable Care Act sparked vigorous and renewed debate over a legal case that could affect millions of Americans' pocketbooks. The video and ensuing flap in the blogosphere -- dubbed "Grubergate" -- added a new layer of controversy and political intrigue to an otherwise dry legal debate, and shortly became more fodder for the courts. Here's what you need to know about the case, the video, and what is at stake for the more than 60,000 Oregonians who pay reduced premiums for private insurance under federal reforms (Budnick, 8/4).

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