Blue Shield of California Announced Rate Hikes of Up to 59% For Some Individuals
Posted Jan 06 2011 2:56am
In reading this some policy holders had contracts that guaranteed no raises for a year and those are going to be the ones hit with the highest increase all at one time. Now compared to Blue Cross, Blue Shield is a non profit and quite a bit smaller but it’s still a lot of people. The only way right now in California to block the increase is if the insurer pays less than 70% on claims.
The scheduled increases for October were delayed while regulators examined their request so the time for that increase is here. Now there's the January 1 increase rolled in here to pay for changes under healthcare reform, i.e. the new laws and perhaps some new data IT systems in the 30% allowed area. March 1st is the next round of increases to come on line so in essence all this rolled in during a 5-6 month period. If you are still confused you can go to the Ask Blue healthcare reform section of the website or call I presume. BD
Anthem Blue Cross also said increases are coming up April 1st that would average just under 10% for the average policy holder. Ok so now we have the rules set on how much carriers can increase, but how often can they have rate increases? I don’t know how well that was all lined out with our state insurance office. BD
Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it's Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1. Blue Shield's action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.
"We raise rates only when absolutely necessary to pay the accelerating cost of medical care for our members," the nonprofit insurer told customers last month.
Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271.
At present, the commissioner can block increases only if insurers spend less than 70% of premium income on claims. Jones' office said Blue Shield's March 1 increase was under review.
Some policyholders have seen their bills rise gradually over the last five months, while others will see the charges lumped together March 1. "It's unfortunate that they all came in a five-month period," Epstein said. "Rates are going to continue to rise unless the cost of medical care is brought under control. We need to reduce what we pay to hospitals, medical groups and pharmaceutical companies."