Health insurance costs for hundreds of thousands of individual policy holders with Blue Shield of California could go up as much 59 percent this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The California health insurer has announced it is seeking to raise rates an average of 30% to 35% for 193,000 policy holders due to rising health care costs, the fact that healthier people are dropping coverage during a bad economy, and other factors.
Roughly one in four of Blue Shield of California customers are expected to see increases of more than 50% over five months. Most of those who hold individual policies are self-employed, aren't covered by their employer or have been laid off.
"Rates are going to continue to rise unless the cost of medical care is brought under control," Blue Shield spokesman Tom Epstein told the LA Times. "We need to reduce what we pay to hospitals, medical groups and pharmaceutical companies."
"The rate increases reported today cover a period of more than one year and have almost nothing to do with the federal health reform law," Blue Shield of California said in a statement. "These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform."
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