Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals - latimes.com

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.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws."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.In all, Blue Shield said, 193,000 policyholders would see increases averaging 30% to 35%, the result of three separate rate hikes since October.

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