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Blue Shield canceled it’s latest rate increase–is that good?

03-19-2011 by Colleen King


This past week, after much controversy, Blue Shield of California canceled it’s rate increase set for May. It was supposed to be in March, they were asked to delay it 60 days by the insurance commissioner, which they did. So after already having two rate increases since October of last year, Blue Shield canceled this current rate increase and has said no more ‘rate actions’ through the end of the year. Click here for the details.


Basically, it appears that one reason this was able to happen was expenditures for health care services late 2010 were less than anticipated. SO, does that mean everything’s okay?


Not sure; what if expenditures exceed what is expected? Conventional thinking is that when times are tough, people skip care that is not essential. This is either because they have no insurance or their insurance puts more of the initial costs on the member. That’s how you keep insurance premiums down, especially when you hear about rate increases like these.


I’m concerned about what happens next year, wondering if rates will fly up to a ridiculous level. Carriers are being expected to do things and cover services in ways not previously experienced, and don’t know how to price for it, so they shoot rates up. And it’s not just Blue Shield, it’s happening with all the carriers.


So to all of you who said to me ‘hey, I thought health care reform was supposed to drop rates,’ I told you it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. Believe me, I’m sorry I was right!



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