California Blue Shield Hits Customers With 59% Increase
January 6, 2011
(ChattahBox US News)— Without health care reform, the cost of health insurance will increase dramatically. And that’s what we are seeing. The Affordable Care Act is being rolled out through 2014, with most of the cost controls fully implemented by 2016. So, Blue Shield of California is making sure it bilks all of its customers now while it can. The insurance company is hitting some customers with rate hikes as high as 59 percent, blaming increased hospital costs, prescription drug prices and health care reform. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in the House plan to hold a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would end the vital cost controls, weaken the overall quality of available coverage and leave 32 million Americans without coverage. That’s what GOPCare would look like.
Anthem Blue Cross tried to raise rates last year by 39 percent before health care reform was finally enacted, causing a public outcry and shining a light on why we desperately needed an overhaul of our health system.
California Blue Shield just doesn’t seem to care that its hefty increases would price many people out of the market.
“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.” [...]
“In all, Blue Shield said, 193,000 policyholders would see increases averaging 30% to 35%, the result of three separate rate hikes since October.”
“Nearly 1 in 4 of the affected customers will see cumulative increases of more than 50% over five months.”
Blue Shield spokesman Tom Epstein, said the company stood to lose “tens of millions of dollars” in the individual market, even with the whopping increases.
Epstein added, “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.”
The state Insurance Commissioner is reviewing the severe rate hikes. Amid public pressure, Anthem Blue Cross backed down last year and reduced its rate increase to 20 percent.