Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, PacifiCare and the last holdout, Blue Shield, have agreed to Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ request to delay proposed rate hikes for 60 days. The first three companies relented last week. It took public pressure, notably from the California Nurses Association, to finally get Blue Shield to announce a hold off on increases yesterday. From The Sacramento Bee:

Blue Shield bowed to public pressure Tuesday and agreed to delay plans to raise premiums by as much as 59 percent for customers who buy insurance on their own.

The move gives nearly 200,000 Californians at least a 60-day reprieve from hikes that were scheduled to take effect March 1.

Instead, the increases will take effect no sooner than May, if state regulators and a company-hired actuary find nothing that could prevent or further delay the new rates from going into effect.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones had called on the insurer, as well as three others, to postpone rate increases until his department could review the rates for compliance with state and federal rules.

Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare complied with the request, but Blue Shield repeatedly refused.

On Tuesday, the company announced its change of heart.

“Blue Shield of California will comply with Commissioner Jones’ request to delay for 60 days our rate increases that were scheduled for March 1,” Blue Shield of California Chairman and CEO Bruce Bodaken said in a statement.

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Commissioner Jones can only do so much. This 60-day delay is merely a Band-Aid on the gushing wound that is the for-profit health insurance industry. The people of California can no longer afford the status quo. If we truly want to stop these rake hikes, the private, for-profit insurance model of health care has to be eliminated and replaced with the more affordable publicly run, privately delivered health care model that SB 810 can provide.