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Lawmakers OK health insurers' rate-setting regions
March 08, 2013, 05:00 AM The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO -- California lawmakers are signaling their willingness to give insurance companies more flexibility in setting the cost for health care premiums.

Amendments to a pair of consumer-protection bills by two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Ed Hernandez of West Covina and Assemblyman Richard Pan of Sacramento, were put into print Friday.

The bills, SBx1-2 and ABx-1, would allow health insurers to divide California into 19 rate-setting regions to accommodate the state's size and diversity. Some lawmakers and consumer advocates wanted to limit insurers to as few as six regions.

The decision is important because geography will be one of the few ways insurers can adjust premiums under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The bills will be heard in committee next week, and lawmakers hope to get them to the governor later this month.

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