The largest health insurance companies in California will be raising their average rates by approximately 8 to 14 percent for hundreds of thousands of policyholders with individual coverage, leaping ahead of the overall medical care costs.
According to government data, within the last year, the national average cost of products and services associated with health care increased by 3.6 percent. However, the insurance premiums have continued to climb at a more rapid rate within the state.
The rate increases were defended by the California insurance companies, which said that they are based on the customer claims experience and not simply the rate of medical price inflation.
They also stated that the policyholders who were in better health have been dropping out of the individual market as the rates continued to rise and the economy continued to decline over the last few years. They explained that the policyholders who were left behind were those that had a higher average medical expense.
According to Anthem Blue Cross spokesperson, Darrel Ng, the insurer plans to continue their examination of the fundamental issues that are leading the healthcare costs to increase, “including the prevention of chronic disease, increasing the quality of care and reducing unnecessary health expenses.” That health insurance company is the largest-for profit insurer in California.
Consumer advocates have, however, expressed skepticism, having doubts as to whether the insurance companies are truly making an adequate effort to keep the costs to a minimum. These most recent rate hikes follow closely on the heels of years that have seen increases of 20 to 30 percent for family coverage.