Jan 12 2011
The non-profit health insurance company Blue Shield has announced its plans to increase premium rates for Californians by a whopping 59%. This is the third time the company has raised its rates in the past year, invoking outrage from all sectors. More than 200,000 Californians would be affected by the rate increases. When Anthem-Blue Cross attempted to raise its rates by 39% in the middle of the national debate over healthcare reform, there was similar outrage, enabling the Obama administration to effectively make its case for the Affordable Care Act. In many states including California, insurers must spend at least 80% of their income on their customers’ medical expenses. When it was established that Anthem-Blue Cross was in violation of that ratio, they were forced to drop their rate hike from 39% to 14%. It remains to be seen if the Blue Shield rate hike of 59% will be stand up to the math. Meanwhile, many are saying the time is ripe for regulating insurance premiums in light of the rate hike, but also because of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, requiring everyone to have private health insurance without protecting them from high rates. Leading the call for regulation is Consumer Watchdog, a group known for its work on regulating auto insurance rates in California.
GUEST: Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog, and author of The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws, and Get the Change We Voted For– A Direct Democracy Toolkit
Find out more at www.consumerwatchdog.org