Health Insurance Premiums Are Soaring as Industry Profits Continue to Rise - Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Schakowsky, Maine Insurance Su

Who: Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Mila Kofman - Maine Insurance Superintendent

Harvey Rosenfield and Carmen Balber - Consumer Watchdog

What: Newsmaker Briefing: "How Health Insurance Rate Regulation Can Lower Premiums and Save Health Reform"

When: 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 11.

Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Schakowsky will open the briefing

Where: 116 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Constitution Ave and 1st St NE, Washington, D.C.

Join Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Schakowsky, Maine's top insurance regulator and state insurance experts to discuss spiraling health insurance rate increases and how regulation can hold down costs for consumers at a Consumer Watchdog briefing Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.

Consumer Watchdog will also release a new report that examines health insurance rate regulation in the states, and finds that states that are instituting or strengthening laws requiring rate review and approval, including New York, Massachusetts and Maine, are seeing cost-control results.

Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Schakowsky introduced legislation in the 112th Congress to require HHS or the states to reject excessive or unjustified health insurance rates.

Maine Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman has used that state's law to conduct comprehensive reviews of rate increases -- including public hearings, consumer intervenors and transparency requirements -- to protect consumers from millions in unnecessary rate increases.

Consumer Watchdog founder Harvey Rosenfield wrote California's model law for review and prior approval of property casualty insurance rates that has saved drivers $62 billion.

Consumer Watchdog Washington, DDCD director Carmen Balber will outline HHS regulations from the federal health reform law requiring review of unreasonable rate increases, and highlight regulatory successes and failures in other states.

Health insurance premiums increased 138% in the last decade while medical inflation rose just 31%. 1st quarter 2011 financial reports show health insurance industry profits are on track to beat last year's huge results. Consumer Watchdog's report finds that, if premium increases continue unchecked, health reform will fail in its primary goal of expanding access to health insurance.

CONTACT: Carmen Balber, +1-202-629-3043, cell: +1-310-403-0284, Judy Dugan, cell +1-213-280-0175

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- May 10, 2011/

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog