La. insurance commissioner pushing bill to make health insurance rates lower

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is putting his support behind a bill in the state legislature that would change the state's healthcare system for individual payers.

House Bill 472 is authored by Rep. Major Thibaut from New Roads. This bill would create a statewide re-insurance pool that he says would stabilize the state's individual market. The individual market is for people who do not receive health insurance through their employer.

"This individual market affects everybody, because even if you work for a company now, you may not tomorrow or you might get laid off, or you may want to retire one day before you turn age 65," said Thibaut.

Donelon says he supports the bill because it will increase competition in the individual market. He says there used to be 16 companies in Louisiana that competed in the individual market, and now there's only two, driving up rates for payers.

"Right now, they can't afford it, they roll the dice, and it really threatens the stability of families, tens of thousands of families all over the State of Louisiana," Donelon said.

Donelon acknowledged some employers and self-insured funds oppose the measure.

The bill passed the House floor Tuesday. It's expected to be considered in a Senate committee next week. If it clears that hurdle, it will go to the full Senate.

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