BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) -- Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is calling for a freeze of any health insurance rate increases above 5 percent until the new federal health care law is fully implemented.

According to WBOC-TV, Gansler made the request to the Maryland Insurance Administration last month.

"Some insurance executives are threatening rate hikes of 25 percent, reaching 100 to 150 percent for some consumers, and Maryland families can't afford that," the attorney general told the news station.

Gansler -- who authored an amicus brief in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- contends companies shouldn't up rates based on projections, but wait until they have actual data.

Key provisions of President Barack Obama's health care reform will go into effect in January.

Under state law, Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese Goldsmith reviews and approves insurance premiums.

The attorney general has no legal authority to set the rates.

However, Gansler could sue on behalf of consumers if it is found they were gouged or overcharged by insurers.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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