Health Insurer Tries to Jack Rates—59%

Blue Shield of California cites rising costs, new health care law
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2011 10:03 AM CST
Blue Shield wants to drastically raise its rates.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Blue Shield of California wants to jack up its health insurance rates a whopping 59% for individual policyholders this year, saying the increase is “absolutely necessary” to deal with rising health care costs and restrictions in the new health care law. Policyholders have complained to the state insurance commissioner, who says he wants the legislature to give him the power to regulate insurance rates the same way he regulates automobile rates.

The hike would affect 193,000 policyholders. One man tells the LA Times that his bill will jump from $271 a month to $431. “When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” he says. “The amount is stunning.” Just a year ago Blue Cross of California tried to raise its rates up to 39%, sparking a national outcry and building support for health care reform. The insurer eventually backed down.

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