Delays for California health insurance rate hike

Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner
Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner

On the heels of the announcement that Blue Shield of California would be raising its premiums by 59%, a proposition that has since been delayed by the state’s insurance commissioner, additional delays are being requested from insurers Aetna, Anthem and PacifiCare. 

New Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, who urged Blue Shield to postpone their rate hike for 60 days, has extended his inquiry to include the other big name insurers, who claim the rate hike is justified in light of rising medical costs and use of services.

In a letter written on January 11, Jones expressed concern at the timing of raised premiums, saying “These premium increases come at a time when Californians are struggling out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.”  The letter was addressed to the big name insurers in the state.

Citizens are understandably frustrated over the ordeal. One man claims that his premium for his family of three jumped $1,000 in the fourth-quarter. His deductable rose from $2,000 to $5,000 per person and, should the rate hike be put into effect, his rates would further increase by roughly $700 in the first quarter of the year.

The call for delays will buy time for Jones to negotiate and investigate the proposed hikes and, hopefully, a solution will be struck in that time.

Should premiums be raised, it will mark the second consecutive quarter in which they have done so. While the economic climate seems to be clearing, the uphill battle to reach solid financial ground is far from over.

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