The new law doesn't prevent rate hikes such as Anthem Blue Cross' double-digit increase last year. 'It is a very big loophole,' says Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is pushing regulatory legislation.
Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.
Many state governments -- which traditionally had responsibility for regulating insurance companies -- also do not have such authority. And several that do are now being sued by insurance companies.
"It is a very big loophole in health reform," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. Feinstein and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are pushing legislation to expand federal and state authority to prevent insurance companies from boosting rates excessively.