California health insurers proposed rate hikes delayed

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Dave Jones, California Insurance CommissionerEarly last month, California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, called for a delay on a proposed rate hike on premiums from Blue Shield. The rate hikes would have raised premiums by at least 60% and would have gone into effect March 1st. Blue Shield has agreed to postpone the hikes for 60 days after becoming the focus of demonstrations from citizens and health care professionals.

Blue Shield initiated proposed the rate hikes as a necessary measure in light of the rising cost of medical care and associated expenses. They claim that the costs are spiraling out of the control of regulators and that medical professionals are beginning to charge too much for procedures that are not worth the money, in turn driving up premiums.

The insurer has shown no signs of reconsidering the hike though it agreed to the delay.

“We are taking this action to remove any doubt that the rate we have submitted are necessary to pay the medical expenses of our policyholders.” The insurer said in a statement. Blue Shield asserts that even with the increased rates they do not expect to be able to cover the cost of medical care for some of their members.

Officials for Blue Shield say that the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction to normalizing the cost of health care.

Blue Shield is just one of other insurance companies proposing increases to premium rates in California. Others have also agreed to delay their hikes but Commissioner Jones has not yet successfully negotiated an alternative.

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