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Insurance Commissioner Not Backing Down From Blue Shield Over Rate Increase

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California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. (Dave Jones Campaign)

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. (Dave Jones Campaign)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has renewed his criticism of Blue Shield of California Saturday and plans to conduct a full review of the insurance carrier’s planned rate increase.

Blue Shield announced plans to increase health insurance rates by as much as 59 percent a week ago, at which point Jones asked the insurance company to delay any action for two months since he had just taken office and hadn’t had time to review whether or not the hike was reasonable.

Blue Shield ignored the request and is moving forward with plans to put the higher rates in effect on March 1st.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Jones’ spokesman, Ioannis Kazanis said the Commissioner isn’t backing down.

“We’re ready to move forward, we’re going to make sure the plan gets the review that it needs. The Department of Insurance has its actuaries on stand-by. We’re all set to make sure that these policy holders get a fair deal,” said Kazanis.

While the Insurance Commissioner can review rate hikes, he does not have the power to stop them. He wants legislation to give him that authority. Meanwhile, policy holders are facing rate increases averaging 30 to 35 percent, with some as high as 59 percent.

Blue Shield says it needs the added revenue to pay for the rising health costs of its 200,000 policy holders in California.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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