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News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: January 6, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Jones Calls On Blue Shield To Delay Substantial Rate Increases

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today called on Blue Shield of California to delay its implementation of a new round of substantial individual health insurance premium increases that would impact tens of thousands of California policyholders. In some instances, consumers would see their health insurance rates skyrocket by up to 59 percent.

"I find it stunning that Blue Shield would seek to impose such massive premium increases on policyholders during these troubling economic times," Commissioner Jones said. "These premium increases will impose significant financial burdens on struggling families and, in some cases, will lead to the loss of health care coverage altogether."

Commissioner Jones also sent a letter calling on Blue Shield to refrain from moving forward with its rate increase for at least 60 days beyond the insurer's proposed March 1, 2011 effective date. Under current California law, the Insurance Commissioner does not have the authority to reject excessive premium increases; however, by asking Blue Shield for a delay in the implementation of its plan, the Commissioner will have the opportunity to ensure that all proposed increases have been thoroughly reviewed.

"Many Californians will no doubt be surprised to learn that the Insurance Commissioner does not have the legal authority to reject excessive health insurance premium increases," Commissioner Jones said. "I have fought hard to give the Insurance Commissioner this authority for the last six years. I have authored strong legislation to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive premium increases, only to see it defeated in the Legislature by conservative legislators. I will continue to fight to pass this legislation."

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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