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News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: January 14, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Presses For Rate Review In Light Of Blue Shield Action

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement today:

"Blue Shield's rate hike of up to 59% hits its approximately 200,000 policyholders very hard. It comes at a time when many Californians continue to struggle. These health insurance rate hikes are not sustainable.

"I am disappointed that Blue Shield has not agreed to my reasonable request that they delay the implementation of their March 1, 2011 rate increase. I made that request in light of the fact that I had been sworn in only for 72 hours and wanted to make sure that I have the time needed to review their rate filing for compliance with a new state law (SB 1163) that went into effect January 1, 2011. SB 1163 requires the Insurance Commissioner to review the reasonableness of health insurance rate increases. It does not give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject unreasonable rate increases. Despite Blue Shield's unwillingness to delay their rate increase, the Department of Insurance will conduct a full and complete review of their rate filing.

"Blue Shield is required by SB 1163 to obtain an independent actuarial certification of the reasonableness of their rate filing. Their announcement today that they are hiring an actuary is something that is already required by law. We will request full disclosure of all information necessary to determine the reasonableness of the rate increase under SB 1163. We expect full compliance with SB 1163.

"The Blue Shield rate increase underscores the need for the Legislature to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive premium increases. I do not have that authority now. I have been fighting to get that authority. As a State Assemblymember I authored bills to give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to reject excessive premium increases. I look forward to working with Assemblymember Feuer who has re-introduced 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 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 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. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.

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