Bad news for residents in my home state. Wasn’t the health reform supposed to help keep rates lower? If other health insurance companies want to increase their market share, now would be a great time to advertise lower premiums. Who wouldn’t switch companies with a hike like this?
One of California's largest health insurers - Blue Shield - announced plans to hike its premiums by as much as 59%.
The jacked up premium rates are set to take effect on March 1, pending review from state insurance regulators. The move impacts 193,000 Blue Shield policy holders.
The company, a member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association with 3.3 million members, which announced the move late Thursday, stressed that its decision has "almost nothing to do with the federal health reform law" and that ultimately the law will help slow down health care costs.
But responding to this most recent increase the company said, "our individual market medical costs are rising rapidly due to higher provider prices, increased utilization, and the fact that healthier people are dropping coverage during a bad economy," the company said.
Despite the steep double-digit hike, the insurer maintained it still expects to lose tens of millions of dollars on its individual healthcare business in both 2010 and 2011.