Blue Shield Delays Rate Hikes Following Protests

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Examination in a doctor's office. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Examination in a doctor’s office. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Rate hikes of up to 59 percent for members of Blue Shield of California won’t be going into effect on March 1 as previously thought.

On Tuesday, amid protesters outside the company’s San Francisco offices, Blue Shield agreed to comply with the state Department of Insurance’s request to delay those increases by 60 days.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan:

Many of the protesters were nurses, who called the premium boosts corrupt and unaffordable.

“There’s going to be a letter that says pay or go away,” said one protester, who said his bill would rise to $770 a month. “It’s not negotiable.”

California Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro said delaying the rate hike is not enough.

“It’s pay or die and that’s the system,” she said.  ” Something’s got to be done dramatically. The problem is, even with ObamaCare, it doesn’t stop these types of abuses.”

Blue Shield has blamed the need for rate hikes on the “explosive growth” in the cost of medical care.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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