From the LA Times, Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals,
Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1.
Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.
. . . Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271.
“When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” said Fraser, 53, a freelance advertising writer. “The amount is stunning.”
. . . Blue Shield said the cost of health coverage was being driven up by large hospital expenses, doctors’ bills and prescription drug prices. Blue Shield’s Epstein said other factors also contributed to the three increases in five months.
California needs to look into a statewide “single-payer” health care plan,
I really don’t understand why anyone should be surprized by this. You tell the insurers that they have to take people with pre-existing conditions (which will be big money losers), you tell insurers that they have to take kids until they are 26 (and, thereby, increase costs). All of these costs have to be paid by someone. Well, guess what, they are paid by the payers of the premiums. There are no “free lunches”. So, whether it is paid for by the subscribers or, by the taxpayers in a single payer system, costs are going up. This is the logical consequences of “Obamacare”. Get used to it.
The insurance companies don’t have to take people with pre-existing conditions until 2014.
This has nothing to do with the health reform law.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
The rollout starts with children. Six months from the day the bill was signed (let’s see … that’ll be Sept. 23, by our calculation), insurers will no longer be able to exclude children with preexisting conditions from being covered by their family policy. For current policies, that means insurers will have to rescind preexisting-condition exclusions. This, of course, is extended to children up to the age of 26.
Blue Sheild’s web site even states that the health care reform will eventually lower health care costs. This would and will happen either way.
“As a not-for-profit company that has long advocated for universal healthcare coverage, our mission is to provide access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage to every Californian. The rising cost of medical care is making the achievement of our mission more challenging than ever. We are working closely with our members, business customers and care providers to improve healthcare quality while holding the line on costs. It will take a gargantuan effort on the part of government and the private sector to reverse the trends that are making health care unaffordable for millions of Americans. We intend to play an active role in that effort.”
“The factors driving the healthcare cost increases were:
-Increased utilization of healthcare services (5%)
-Increased unit cost of medical services (7%)
-Increased proportion of healthcare costs paid by insurance when deductibles stay the same but the cost of medical services increases (3%)”