From The Sacramento Bee:
Blue Shield of California, stung by public outrage over its latest premium hikes, said Friday it won’t back down from its plans to raise rates by as much as 59 percent, setting the stage for a confrontation with the state’s new insurance commissioner.
Last week, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones asked Blue Shield to delay for 60 days a planned rate hike the company said would go into effect in March. Earlier this week, Jones also asked Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare to delay their previously announced rate hikes.
Blue Shield officials “believe the rates are appropriate,” company spokesman Johnny Wong said in an e-mail Friday. As a result, “We are moving forward with the March 1 rate increase.”
But the embattled San Francisco-based insurer on Friday also said it will submit its rates to an independent actuary for review and would refund overpayments, with interest, if the actuary “finds that the rates are not sound.”
To read the rest of the article: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/15/3325248/blue-shield-stands-by-california.html#ixzz1BWFXtqDR
If the actuary finds that rates are not sound? Of course they’re not sound. Anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that. What’s next? An 80% rate increase? 100%? Where does this end? Economically squeezed Californians can’t take this gouging much longer. It’s gotten to the point where purchasing health insurance costs as much as paying a mortgage or buying a new car. Giving the new insurance commissioner more power over rate increases doesn’t go far enough to control healthcare costs. The profit-driven insurance companies need to be taken out of health care. The legislature and Gov. Brown must enact SB 810 – California’s self-insurance plan – to ensure no one is saddled with insane rate hikes ever again.