AirTalk for January 6, 2011

Blue Shield of California hikes rates up to 59%

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A ring of US twenty dollar bills with a bottle of prescription drugs and a stethoscope.

Individual health policyholders with Blue Shield of California got some sobering news this morning. Looks like their rates might be going up by a whopping 59%. The company cites higher medical costs and expenses related to the healthcare overhaul as reasons for the increases. It was less than a year ago that Anthem Blue Cross sparked national outrage by trying to raise its rates by over 30%. Ultimately, they were forced to accept a 20% increase. Will Blue Shield be able to justify this round of rate hikes? Why do premiums keep going up? What impact is the healthcare bill having?

Guests:

Patrick Johnston, President and CEO, California Association of Health Plans

Shana Alex Lavarreda, Director of Health Insurance Studies, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research


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