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Calif. Insurance Commissioner Slams Blue Shield Rate Hike

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is taking issue with recently implemented health insurance premium increases involving tens of thousands of Blue Shield customers.

Jones referred to the increases that affect 80,000 Blue Shield individual or family policy holders in California that were grandfathered in when the Affordable Care Act took effect. The higher rates went into effect at the start of the year.

State Insurance Commissioner Calls Blue Shield's Rate Increases 'Unreasonable'

"This January 1st, 2014 rate increase for Blue Shield's grandfathered policy holders is an average 9.8 percent increase," he said.

Jones went on to say that the cumulative rate increase was both "excessive" and "unreasonable" for many reasons. According to the commissioner, customers with the grandfathered policies have been subject to multiple increases recently.

"Blue Shield has raised rates by an average of 32.3 percent over the last 24 months," Jones said.

Jones has no power to reject or set health insurance rates, but his department does review rate filings.

In a written statement, Blue Shield said Jones' cumulative increase numbers are not accurate and that the premiums are comparable to what competing insurance companies are charging for grandfathered policies.

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