Rep. Loretta Sanchez Slams Blue Shield Over California Premium Increase

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez - Photo: Chris Prevatt

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) Thursday slammed health insurer Blue Shield of California for its decision to seek huge rate increases for tens of thousands of Californians on March 1. Under Blue Shield’s proposal, some individual policyholders would see cumulative rate hikes as high as 59%. Over 190,000 policyholders would see increases averaging 30% to 35%.

“I am absolutely outraged by Blue Shield of California’s decision to seek a drastic rate increase at a time when record numbers of Californians are out of work and struggling to insure themselves and their families. Under the proposed plan, nearly a quarter of affected policyholders will see rate increases of more than 50% over five months. That is absolutely unconscionable. Blue Shield of California must reexamine its decision given the catastrophic impact it will have on families in Orange County and across the state.”

Less than a year ago, Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers. These types of abusive rate increases were one of the reasons why Democrats fought for health care reform. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies are required to publicly report the percentage of total premium revenue that is used for actual health care services for beneficiaries. The Affordable Care Act also holds health insurance companies accountable for unjustified premium increases. These provisions will protect Americans from the kinds of outrageous premium rate increases that Blue Shield of California is attempting to implement.

Congresswoman Sanchez urges her colleagues in the California Delegation and her constituents in Orange County to contact Blue Shield of California to express their outrage and concern over its proposed rate increase. Policyholders and other members of the public can call the insurer toll free at (888) 568-3560 or TTY at (888) 595-0000.

  7 comments for “Rep. Loretta Sanchez Slams Blue Shield Over California Premium Increase

  1. Randy
    January 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I guess she thinks that Blue Shield can just print money like the Federal government. Or maybe just not pay the doctors and hospitals?

    • bdb
      January 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      How is there no examination of the increase in pharmaceutical costs and physician/hospital costs. That’s what’s truly unconscionable. These entities see opportunities to charge more for their services and drugs, and the insurance companies don’t negotiate those down but rather carry those costs to the insured while trying to profit themselves. The actual costs are small but the health care industry is inflated and unwieldy with too many entities feeding at the trough. Cut out the middlemen costs and you can start to fix the problem. If doctors had to bid over patients directly, they’d have to lower costs. This doesn’t happen with insurance companies in the middle.

  2. January 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    A responsible Congresswoman would first contact California’s Insurance Commissioner and the Blue Shield of California’s Public Relations Officer in an attempt to understand the reason for the rate increase. The rate increase might be due to California’s recent changes to its Health Care laws, or perhaps an anticipated cost increase under ObamaCare. A cost Accountant would be most helpful, – demagoguery not helpful.

    • Ltpar
      January 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Robert, your observations are correct. However, let’s regress a bit further. What Congresswoman Sanchez should have been doing is to find out why both medical costs and health premiums continue double digit increases every year. This action should have been taken before anything else, because it negatively impacts more people.

      Although, covered under a group rate Blue Shield Plan, my premiums increased another 10% this year bringing them to around $1,400 per month for my wife and I. I am all in favor of health-care reform, but not the mess that was produced by Congress. Sorry Congresswoman Sanchez, too little too late. If you want to do something right, work with the Republicans to throw out Obamacare and go back to square one on reform and this time do it right.

      • bdb
        January 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm

        The Republicans actually don’t have a clue how to fix the problem, not when fixing the problem means chipping away at the profits of the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies and hospitals which are all driving costs up. If it worked like other industries, health care providers would compete over consumers. This isn’t the case. There’s no attempt to appeal to consumers. They send the bill and you just have to pay it. Makes no sense when things can be streamlined. But Republicans have no interest in streamlining things if it costs their corporate donors money. Their goal is to let the market solve the problem and if insurers want to drive up costs so that only a handful of people can afford insurance and health care, then so be it.

  3. Dan King
    January 9, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I am one of those targeted by Blue Shield of CA.
    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that these increases cannot possibly reflect actual costs.

    My rates have gone up 44% since October 2010. Tell me who has raised their rates that much and then charge Blue Shield – Doctors, equipment costs, anyone in the health care industry etc…. NO. There is something that smells really bad and I am being robbed. In case you have not shopped around lately, Health insurance is alomost a monopoly. Yes I think Obama Care has issues. However the Republicans have not come up with ONE idea, not ONE. Trying to repeal it is childish. Fix it would be a better path.

  4. Johnny Urrea
    January 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    You baggers should actually read the article. The Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with it. Where was your support for the Public Option. Oh that’s right you guys did nothing to help. Now you’re throwing bombs, duds,from the sidelines. Get in the game and quit whimming.

Comments are closed.