Insurers raise California health care rates; state officials doth protest
posted at 12:21 pm on March 8, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
California was the first state to eagerly volunteer to get crackin’ on implementing ObamaCare, but with thousands of insurance premiums all set to get more expensive for consumers, state officials are busily trying to blame the symptoms instead of the disease — as blue-state progressives are wont to do. The LA Times reports:
Officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care said increases that average more than 11% for about 47,000 individual and small-business policyholders of Blue Shield and Aetna were unreasonable. But state officials don’t have the authority to reject changes in premiums, and increasingly health insurers refuse state demands to lower rates.
“I am disappointed that after lengthy negotiations, Blue Shield and Aetna were unwilling to bring their proposed health plan increases down to a reasonable level,” said Brent Barnhart, director of the Department of Managed Health Care. …
Blue Shield, a San Francisco nonprofit insurer, said the latest rate increases for nearly 30,000 individual customers, which became effective Friday, were justified based on rising medical costs and continued losses in its individual business. Some of its policyholders are paying as much as 20% more. …
State officials are also getting upset that health insurers are “charging people more this year to recoup fees related to the federal healthcare law that don’t take effect until next year” — but what was it that they were expecting, exactly? Legislators and regulators can talk themselves blue in the face about what they think the appropriate prices should be, but that’s just not how it works; insurance companies calculate their risks and set their prices from there, and ObamaCare requires them to take on a heck of a lot more risk.