Keep your fingers crossed today, as a set of three bills designed to bring greater oversight to health-insurance rate increases are expected to face a crucial vote in an Oregon Senate committee.

Sen. Chip Shields (D-North/Northeast Portland) says he's optimistic the bills he's pushing will win approval from the Committee on General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection.

Shields became alarmed in recent years when the state Insurance Division approved massive rate increases on the 500,000-plus Oregonians who hold individual and small-group insurance plans. 

Senate bills 717, 718 and 719 would bring greater oversight of the rate-increase process and bring the insurance industry for the first time under the state Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

"[Rate increases] would become more of a public process instead of happening behind closed doors," Shields says.

For more information, check out the website of the Reasonable Insurance Premium Coalition.