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Three California insurers agree to delay health insurance rate hikes, Blue Shield does not Posted: January 31st, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

After Blue Shield of California subscribers received notification that their health insurance rates would go up three times in less than six months, the California Insurance Commissioner asked the state's major insurers to put the brakes on future increases. The state reports that three out of the four health insurance companies have agreed to the request.


"I am pleased that Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare have agreed to my request that they halt the implementation of their rate increases until the Department of Insurance has adequate time to review their recent rate filings," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones in a statement.


Meanwhile, Blue Shield of California has declined to delay its March 2011 rate increase. Instead, it has announced that a third party actuary will review its rates to ensure that they are sound. The rate increase scheduled for March 2011 comes on the heels of earlier increases implemented in October 2010 and January 2011.


Jones sent formal requests to the insurers asking that they wait 60 days beyond the effective date of their most recent rate increase before raising premiums again. While the California Department of Insurance can review the filings, the commissioner has limited power to reject increases.