California Insurance Commissioner Announces Health Insurance Rate Transparency

July 27, 2010

You already know that shopping online can save you money on health insurance, but now the state of California has established a system that will alert consumers via email when new health insurance rates are filed in their individual markets.

Speaking to the press, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said, “We want as many people as possible scouring these rate filings to ensure they are mistake-free. The e-mail notification tool will expand access to these documents by informing the public of when there are new filings to peruse. This additional analysis, in conjunction with scrutiny by the Department of Insurance’s in house actuaries and independent actuaries retained by the Department, will help ensure that consumers are protected and insurers are spending 70 percent of premiums on medical benefits, as required by state law.”

Consumers who wish to participate in this program should visit and select which of the Department of Insurance’s updates they would like to receive.

Recently, Commissioner Poizner also that he wanted to create transparency by posting all health insurance rate filings for the individual market on the California Department of Insurance’s Web site. They can be found at, where interested readers are also able to post comments which will be read by CDI attorneys.

Additionally, Poizner announced that the rate filings of the four largest insurers in California’s individual health insurance will be subject to deeper scrutiny, by having them analyzed by an outside actuary. After today, the only large insurer that doesn’t have an active filing with the CDI is Health Net.

Health insurance rates in California do not require prior approval from the Department of Insurance the way homeowners and auto insurance rates do, but state law does require that seventy cents of every dollar collected in health insurance premiums must be spent on medical benefits. The actuarial review being instituted will allow verification that insurers are complying with this law.