State Commissioner Criticizes Health Insurance Rate Hikes

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Three health insurance companies have proposed raising premiums for individual policy holders in California this year, a move that the state Insurance Commissioner is calling a serious problem.

Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and Aetna have all informed some of their policy holders about the increase in premiums.

“They are hitting Californians and California businesses very hard in a time when they can ill afford it,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “They are ultimately unsustainable. Californians can’t keep affording to pay these rate increases.”

KCBS’ Melissa Culross Reports:

The insurance companies have justified the increases because of a rise in medical costs, but Jones said he would like the authority to reject health insurance premium hikes that he believes to be excessive.

“I have that for auto insurance, for homeowners insurance, for casualty insurance under a law called Proposition 103, which allows me to reject rate hikes for those insurance lines that are excessive, but I don’t have that for health insurance,” he said.

Jones said a bill has been introduced in the Assembly that would give him the authority to regulate health insurance premiums in California.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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