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Blue Shield Shocks with Rate Hikes

California-based insurance behemoth Blue Shield raised eyebrows today with the announcement that it would be raising its fees--in some cases as high as 59% for individuals, the LA Times reports. The increases will take effect on March 1st, and will likely affect tens of thousands of people. While Blue Shield rates have gone up an average of 30 or 35%, it appears that one in four Blue Shield customers will experience an increase of 50% or more.

We'll see what pans out before March 1st--and how effective new Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will be at blocking the changes. Right now he doesn't have the authority to do so, but he says that the situation is "under review."

"Blue Shield's increases pose the same problem posed by Anthem Blue Cross last year and other health insurers as well," Jones told the LA Times. "My hope would be that Blue Shield would reexamine these rate hikes, particularly in the face of the impact they are having on individual policyholders."

January 10, 2011 at 9:52 pm
(1) Samuel Reaves says:

Isn’t it a shame some companies still try and reap from the people when the economy is in such strife. Rep. Paul Ryan and House Speaker John A. Boehner received substantial campaign contributions from Blue Shield therefore it only makes sense for Blue Shield to pay off political campaign debts (and bankroll the further election too).

Perhaps Blue Shield will increase its rates further.

January 13, 2011 at 10:26 am
(2) Sam Response says:

Hey, Sam, these increases are in anticipation of Obamacare as have been the previous 20-30% increases of the last year or two. If you don’t understand that, you really should do some research. HOPE you have some CHANGE in your pockets when this abomination takes complete effect. Until then, expect more of the same as this affront from BC-BS. The concept from day one has been driving the “private” out of insurance in the US of A. We are simply in the intermediary steps. Obama explained this long before he was elected. The slobbering media chose to ignore his own words available to those interested in hearing them. Get used to waiting in line months as they do in Canada and Europe for surgery presently available on demand here. So, you’ll sit and suffer a few years before hip replacement rather than going in on your own time. Big deal. This is the price we are to pay. Many will pay with their lives as well as the misery. Just find some happiness knowing that trial lawyers were held harmless in their noble ambulance chasing pursuits as per Pelosi party power objectives. Ain’t it sweet that there is no interstate competition for rates on this national movement? Ask yourself why the big insurance firms did not fight this scheme tooth and nail. Maybe you’ll catch a clue if you repeat “crony capitalism” or “socialists nightmare” a few thousand times.

January 16, 2011 at 9:16 pm
(3) Jared Balis says:

I’m a Utah health insurance agent and I agree that these rate increases are in anticipation for Obamacare. Another thing people need to realize is that companies are going to be forced to cover everyone who applies. Right now, they are being forced to cover children, no matter their health history or current health status. I believe that’s a great thing, but not everyone is being required to pay premiums (ie..claims and premiums are being heavily used and paid by people with health conditions that used to be covered by group or government programs.). In addition, don’t be surprised to see higher premiums in general after January 1st, 2014 (the day that guaranteed issue plans go into effect). Yes, uninsured Americans are going to have insurance, which is great, but we are all going to foot the bill, meaning rates will be raising even more than the unbearable rate increases we’ve experienced in the recent past.

Jared Balis

January 26, 2011 at 5:46 am
(4) Insurance Group UK says:

may be possible as we are thinking it is not like that but i wanna clear one thing that in California we can do insurance self and there is no need anyone instead of Insurance Group

January 26, 2011 at 10:39 am
(5) Online Health Guy says:

Health insurance is more important than life insurance and fee hike (as much as 59%) is terrible for many individuals who are planning to buy new health insurance.

January 28, 2011 at 11:43 am
(6) Alicia says:

I think this is going to be a big step in health insurance. If these companies are allowed to do this, who says they might not continually increase health insurance rates over time. I read an article discussing the issue (http://www.ins-solutionsblog.com/1026/is-health-insurance-in-california-about-to-see-a-rate-hike/) and I do not think it is fair to do this to those who pay for their individual insurance plans.

February 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(7) Student Pharmacist Desk says:

Outrageous! As if they need anymore profit!

February 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm
(8) ratesonline says:

this kinda hard to believe actually

February 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(9) Tim says:

I can understand rate hikes in anticipation of Obamacare, but 59%? What is Blue Cross’s explanation for these kinds of rate hikes?

February 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm
(10) VKODY says:

Your blog needs to be updated to reflect the fact that Blue Shield has cancelled their 3/1/11 rate increases. Blue Shield and Anthem remain competitive among other company plans and services.

February 18, 2011 at 4:47 am
(11) shaun mike says:

Household Well being Insurance: A Priority For Every person Loved ones Wellness Insurance, since the name implies, is a specialized term for wellness insurance policies that offer monetary coverage to the whole family members against medical expenditures due to an illness, injury, accidents as well as unforeseen catastrophes such as terrorist attacks.

February 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm
(12) upset cal says:

So many people blast Obama’s health care reform, but I see little about how health insurance companies charge and gouge the public with their outrageous premiums. I’m in my mid 40′s, self employed, married with 3 kids, all healthy, no medical history. I can’t believe what we pay. It includes high deductible HSA plan. I want Obama’s health plan because I am tired of the status quo. There is so much waste and overhead with the private sector how can it get any worse?

February 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm
(13) Frank from Insurance Tips says:

A lot of rate increases are not really necessary. They are only made to increase the profit of those companies and they are not taking into consideration the needs of the individual policyholders who might have problems to pay the premiums.

February 25, 2011 at 10:16 am
(14) Tom Jackson says:

I enjoy the many blog entries here but one area needs attention and discussion. Tools to help individual health insurance consumers make informed decisions are desperately needed. Our company SageSim LLC offers a no cost SW model that can help a consumer pick the optimal health plan for them.

The model is at http://www.sagesim.info

Tom Jackson

March 1, 2011 at 4:58 am
(15) Elena says:

I made by myself some research and Blue Shield remains very competitive, I don’t know if leader of the market yet.

March 6, 2011 at 10:08 am
(16) Mark says:

Keep in mind the CA DOI had to APPROVE these rate increases, and Blue Cross had to justify the rate increase to the DOI, with data to back up their claims, just saying…..

March 6, 2011 at 10:09 am
(17) Mark says:

many people forget that the CA DOI had to approve these increases.

March 8, 2011 at 10:08 am
(18) Insurance License says:

You are absolutely right Mark, the California Department of Insurance does have the final say in approving these increases. In addition, it states “in some cases as high as 59%”, but not in all cases and is most likely in no way the median value. At the same time though, I would like to see is if there is any PR backlash to insurers for headlines such as these. Even individuals who do not keep abreast with industry news still heard about this story.

March 9, 2011 at 12:02 am
(19) Mark says:

honestly unless u run off the mouth like that guy from senfield there is no such thing as bad press. the public assumes all health insurers are scum as most usually goes with the carrier who offers the best value.

March 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm
(20) Dominic says:

It’s crazy that profits are still being made by health insurance companies from the basic needs of every human being. Living in the U.K. we moan about the NHS, but to be honest, we all get all the health care we need, virtually free of charge. Food, shelter and health. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

March 19, 2011 at 5:14 am
(21) mikey says:

Sorry Mark (and Insurance License):

You are absolutely wrong: the CA DOI Commissioner has no authority over individual policy premiums. He can check their math but currently has no authority to block increases. The CA legislature has tried to create some authority on individual premiums for years but has been blocked by insurance industry lobbyists, etc. They are trying again right now.

March 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm
(22) Thinking Insurance Care says:

Ooch, such a rate hike is going to squeeze people that are already paying a lot. We need insurance companies that can negotiate big time with health care providers. Our healthcare system is also too fractured and there is too many repeat tests, treatments, etc. There is too much litigation as well and the cost of malpractice insurance is insane. We need a few strong companies too go in and clean up this mess. Let the government back them up without being directly involved except for things like tort reform.

April 18, 2011 at 3:39 pm
(23) Sam says:

wow, here’s hoping other companies don’t do the same

May 5, 2011 at 2:21 am
(24) www.CheapCarInsurance.org.uk says:

I like this article. It’s very nice.

May 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm
(25) Ike says:

Affordable insurance where you can save money on your premiums and compare rates among major carriers makes for a competitive environment. Let’s vote with our wallets!

June 9, 2011 at 4:26 am
(26) Health Insurance China says:

Yes, this needs to be somehow regulated, otherwise people will consider to stop being insured.

June 9, 2011 at 4:28 am
(27) Health Insurance China says:

This needs to be somehow regulated, otherwise people will stop buying insurance plans.

June 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm
(28) krankenversicherung says:

Nice article. Thanks frommelt germany

June 15, 2011 at 8:52 am
(29) MarkSpencer says:

Health insurance is more important than life insurance and fee hike is terrible for many individuals who are planning to buy new health insurance.

June 15, 2011 at 9:46 am
(30) krankenversicherung wechsel says:

I like your Blog. These are interesting Topics.

June 20, 2011 at 3:30 am
(31) Emmaa says:

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June 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm
(32) Mazda says:

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July 1, 2011 at 1:29 am
(33) Health Insurance says:

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July 4, 2011 at 5:14 am
(34) health insurance says:

A Priority For Every person Loved ones Wellness Insurance, since the name implies, is a specialized term for wellness insurance policies. We need a few strong companies too go in and clean up this mess. Let the government back them up without being directly involved except for things like tort reform.

July 4, 2011 at 6:36 am
(35) seema says:

nice & interesting

July 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm
(36) Paul Glover says:

Americans without health insurance have organized the League of Uninsured Voters (LUV) to demand health care for all Americans, while also demanding the right to create member-owned self-insuring health plans. Currently this is forbidden by state insurance regulations. Without any alternative, “state laws have become a cage for us to die in,” says Paul Glover, the group’s founder. There are 51 million Americans without health care, with about 30 million more under-insured– paying more than they can easily afford, for insufficient health insurance.

According to the LUV website http://www.luvpower.org, the group also demands the shift of public resources from prisons and wars toward more medical schools with full scholarships, more family doctors providing preventive and holistic care, more health-related jobs, ending corporate bribes to legislators and regulators, and thousands of member-owned free clinics.

To push these, they ask members to send their medical bills to insurance companies with the note, “You lobbied against extending Medicare [the federal plan for seniors], so you pay it.” And instead of petitioning Congress, they say “don’t send them your signature, send them your medical bills.” As well, they advocate removing investments from health insurance stocks and putting them into local banks, voting for candidates ready to endorse their demands, and other strategies even more confrontative.

LUV’s mascot is a big red heart with boxing gloves, and their motto is “Tough LUV.” They emphasize their militant approach has become necessary after 99 years of a campaign for universal health coverage that has consisted principally of “ineffective conferences, panel discussions and rallies.”

July 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm
(37) Tommy McCue says:

Many Americans cant afford the rising cost of insurance ,The cost of Insurance has superseded the Average cost of one’s family income. How can we as Americans Stop this from happening. Also we are getting less of a benefit every year that are premiums are rising.

July 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm
(38) Chris Reynols says:

I know many people that pay for health coverage and they don’t have maternity benefit. When will congress get it threw there heads that Americans are tired of all this abuse

August 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(39) Katy says:

The Health Insurance rate increases in California are NOT being blamed on Obamacare. And that news is directly from Blue Cross and Anthem. Many healthy people have left the health care system during the recession and that has caused the carriers to reap a much lower number of premiums from healthy people who do not tax the system. Grow up and don’t be so damned obvious about your political stripes. People cannot make informed decisions if you are lying about the causes of increased premiums. Health insurers are remarkably inefficient, spending 9-12% OF premiums on administration: medicare spends 3% on administration. Private sector absolutely stinks in this regard and there is no incentive to get them to be efficient except through competition. Competition gets created by the health exchanges that are required by Obamacare.

August 3, 2011 at 12:57 pm
(40) tommy says:

Katy you need to take your Obama arm band off and realize
the Obama Care Insurance is the worst alternative for health insurance. Whether or not one has insurance or not It would cost Americans Dearly. And not to say if one don’t have insurance one will be required to buy insurance Legislation will tell us how much to pay. And if you think this plan will be affordable Whether or not you now have health insurance, Obama’s health care bill will cost you dearly.
If your household income is $66,000 a year, slightly above the national average, Obama’s health care bill will require you to spend 12 percent of your income — about $8,000 a year or almost $700 a month — to buy health insurance before you get any federal subsidy.

For those making less will have to reach deep into their meager resources to satisfy Obama’s statutory requirement. Families scraping by on only $44,0000 a year will have to pay 7 percent of their income (about $3,000) on insurance. Even those making just $33,000 will have to ante up 4.5 percent of their income (about $1,500) for health insurance. The required payments reach so far down the scale that those who are living at the federal poverty level of $22,000 will have to shell out 2 percent of their totally inadequate incomes ($440) for insurance.

Get a grip and know the facts about Obama Care

August 23, 2011 at 3:14 pm
(41) Health Insurance for You says:

I live in England and we find it hard to believe that a country as modern and powerful as America doesn’t have a national health service like we do. Whenever I go to America I get covered to the max as not being covered is quite frightening. Hopefully Obama will change things for the better.

August 29, 2011 at 2:30 am
(42) Tinnitus Miracle says:

Ooch, such a rate hike is going to squeeze people that are already paying a lot. We need insurance companies that can negotiate big time with health care providers. Our healthcare system is also too fractured and there is too many repeat tests, treatments, etc. There is too much litigation as well and the cost of malpractice insurance is insane. We need a few strong companies too go in and clean up this mess. Let the government back them up without being directly involved except for things like tort reform.

September 1, 2011 at 2:30 am
(43) jacobmichael786 says:

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September 1, 2011 at 10:25 am
(44) Eddy says:

Yes, health insurance is very important things

September 2, 2011 at 7:21 am
(45) loss adjuster says:

Thanks for this important information. I really like this health insurance.

September 20, 2011 at 2:55 am
(46) sarayutth says:

Scandaloso! Come se hanno bisogno di profitto più!

October 12, 2011 at 1:02 am
(47) Franchise says:

You can not blame on these insurance companies because we know that the most of the companies have been defaulter in past.So it should not be said wrong if they are changing their criteria now.

October 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm
(48) siriousfails says:

I also think this will creates a big step in health insurance.People must be able to know about their health right and try to get it.

November 3, 2011 at 7:19 am
(49) Easyworld says:

At last there is an opportunity to put your medical needs first, having the cover you need at the cost you can afford. EasyHealth is a new medical savings facility, which was designed to give All South Africans access to private pre-hospital care.

November 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm
(50) San Diego Health Insruance says:

Blue Shield is preparing to rebate all San Diego Health Insurance subscribers almost 60% of one month’s premiums as a result of capping the company profits at 2%.

November 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm
(51) Health Insurance San Diego says:

These rate increases got reduced to more like 10% once the CA dept of insurance got through with their review.

November 9, 2011 at 4:33 am
(52) Child Insurance says:

Its really very shocking to hear such incident.

November 21, 2011 at 4:11 am
(53) Packers says:

Hopefully, when you see them you’ll all agree that it has been produced in a very classy yet understated and practical cosmetic fashion.

November 30, 2011 at 12:54 pm
(54) Vein angioplasty Cardioabroad says:

Every year there has been an increase on health insurance. Are they trying to get people to not have health insurance? It sounds like the companies wants to make insurance so expensive that no on can afford it. This corporate greed needs to stop!!!

January 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm
(55) Gantt Chart says:

are there any further rate hikes expected for 2012?

January 23, 2012 at 2:18 am
(56) Physiotherapy Dublin says:

“Rates have gone up an average of 30 or 35%”, Really it is a big deal and difficult to afford by everyone.
Physiotherapy Dublin

January 24, 2012 at 3:04 am
(57) insurancenews says:

I really like your post . Thanks for sharing it. Florida Insurance News — provides Health Insurance Quotes or Life Insurance. This policy is essential for everybody. It is a sort of assurance given by a financial organization. The assurance is in the kind of financial payment against any unexpected health expenses.

January 24, 2012 at 9:48 am
(58) Jules says:

Good post. Here’s a thought that I can’t seem to get out of my head. It’s too soon to force Health Care insurance down the throats of Americans as a law without bring the monthly rates down to something that is manageable. I don’t think govt. run health care is the way to go. What seems extremely plausible to me is:

1. Get rid of the pre-existing condition. We’re not cars. Our bodies aren’t easily replaced. That policy was never right.

2. Insurance companies provide ‘cadillac’ policies to large companies. Prices that are less than cell phone bills. Why can’t these policies/premiums be provided to the public at large? How many could actually afford it if Health Insurance WAS AFFORDABLE?

Four or five years ago, I looked up rates to insure myself, a fairly healthy, non-smoking, 29 year old (then). I couldn’t find anything decent under $100/month. This is crazy. I know its only gone up from there. Its cheaper to try to save the money and go with out. But, in this economy and the unemployment rate is false advertising… WHO CAN AFFORD HEALTH CARE that doesn’t have a job. Unless you’re a millionaire and then you don’t need it. The whole discussion feels pointless unless insurance companies LOWER THEIR RATES!!!

My frustration is the fact that government will now allow parents to insure the 25-26 year old ‘children’ but we have aging parents struggling to survive and too proud to use medicare and medicaid. I’d pay to have my mom on my insurance policy, but I can’t.

January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm
(59) Dan Williams says:

Same stuff here in Pennsylvania health insurance. Rates are going out of sight faster than imagined. I can’t help but wonder if this is positioning by insurers in anticipation of Obamacare.

February 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm
(60) Tracy McManamon says:

It is hard to watch the rates go up so much.The insurance companies realize that they are taking so much from individuals and families. What will be hard to watch is that people will no longer be able to pay for insurance. ObamaCare is not the way to go though since that will simply make our taxes shoot up and we will be paying for people with much worse conditions that what we are in. A premium based on your health condition is still the cheaper route for the majority.

February 29, 2012 at 11:29 am
(61) alfred says:

Well information composed in this article, thanks to the author who informed me about this valuable article.

May 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm
(62) linda meadows says:

BCBS just raised my premiums from $678 a month to 969. This should be illegal. Now I can no longer afford health insurance and no one else will accept me because of a pre-existing condition. An alternative plan from BCBS isn’t much better either. The Affordable Care Act is a joke for those of us with these pre-existing conditions. You can’t have had health insurance for the previous 6 months. Really? What person with a pre-existing condition can go without health insurance for any length of time? I feel that health insurance companies practice one of the worse forms of discrimination without out having to account for it. That is, making the premiums so high they’re unaffordable, thereby forcing people off their list. What kind of country is this?

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