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New Health Insurance Rules Proposed

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In a move aimed at keeping down skyrocketing health insurance costs, consumer advocates and state Democratic lawmakers will propose legislation tomorrow in Sacramento requiring state approval before insurers can raise their rates. Supporters of the measure say letting the state intervene has worked well in limiting rate increases for auto insurance, a target of a ballot measure that passed in 1988.

But, critics say health insurance is different and costs can´t be kept under control simply by passing a law. They say increases are due to rising health care costs driven by technology improvements, an aging population and other reasons. Health insurance premiums jumped an average of 13% last year in California, 6 times the state´s rate of inflation.