Unreasonable and unquestioned increases in health insurance rates can happen in Texas under the 2010 federal health care reform law.
The federal law states that the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) can review health insurance companies' rate increases, but has no authority to veto them. Also, the TDI does not have the right to inform the public about problems with rate increases, nor can the department stall or postpone such increases.
Add to this, the Texas Legislature's inattentiveness, for when there was scope for a review five months ago, the TDI did not create a system to publicize high increases in rates. The agency now wants to provide consumers with information about rate increases and is developing it.
'Obamacare' or the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in force since September last, had forced health insurance companies to inform state and federal insurance regulators if they decided to increase rates. These hikes were for individual and group policies by an average of 10 percent or more. In case a specific state didn't have the capacity to review rates, federal regulators would review the increases to decide if they were off limits.
Texas is notably, one of the weaker states in the US in terms of lawful authority to review health insurance rates.