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Blue Shield Delays Rate Hikes For 60 Days

Piya Sinha-Roy |
February 1, 2011 | 1:13 p.m. PST

Senior Entertainment Editor


Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California
Health insurance provider Blue Shield of California revealed Tuesday that they would hold off on their March 1 rate hikes at the request of Commissioner Dave Jones.

This comes after Jones requested a 60-day from Blue Shield, Aetna, PacifiCare and Anthem Blue Cross, in order to adequately review each of the rate filings that the insurance providers had submitted.

Blue Shield’s proposed increase in rates may see some of their policyholders paying up to 59 percent more over a six-month period, causing many policyholders to contact Jones with their concerns. 

"I am pleased that Blue Shield is now joining Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare in agreeing to my request for an additional 60 days to review their rate filings,” said Jones. “Before Blue Shield policyholders face additional rate hikes, we need time to review the rate filings to ensure compliance with the new law that requires that 80 cents of every premium dollar is spent on providing health care and to determine whether the proposed rate increases are unreasonable.”

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United held a large protest on Tuesday outside Blue Shield's San Francisco headquarters. Joining the nurses were patients and representatives from organizations such as Consumer Watchdog, Healthcare Now and Courage Campaign. 

“A 60-day delay is a small victory, but it won’t alleviate the pain experienced by patients every day who must endure callous price increases and care denials by an industry that cares more about its bottom line than the patients it purports to serve,” said CNA/NNU co-president DeAnn McEwen.

Under a new law passed in Jan. 1, 2011, health insurers are required to provide detailed information regarding premium increases and to submit a certification from an outside actuary to the Department of Insurance.

Blue Shield has previously said it will use an outside consultant to review its rate increase plan and verify that it's needed. 

Jones will now utilize the 60-day delay to effectively review the rate increase proposals from California’s top health insurance providers.

Reach Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy here, and follow her on Twitter @PiyaSRoy.



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