Blue Shield Refund Shows Need for Stronger Rate Review

Media Contacts
Austin Price

CALPIRG

Sacramento, CA– Blue Shield of California followed through on its promise to cap profits at 2% of revenue resulting in a refund of $295 million to policyholders.  This action comes in the midst of increased public scrutiny about major premium increases from several of California’s major health insurers and a push for legislation that would give regulators the authority to reject or reduce unjustified rate hikes. 

“It’s great to see Blue Shield keep their promise and provide some relief to families that are struggling under the cost of health care”, said Austin Price, Health Care Associate.  “However, insurance companies’ profits are continuing to grow along with premiums, while the rest of the country is working to recover, and we don’t see other insurers lining up to take Blue Shield’s lead.” 

According to one report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, insurance companies profits increased 250 percent from 2000 to 2009, at ten times the speed of inflation.   

“Without the ability for officials to review and reject excessive rates Californians are going to have to depend on media attention and the good graces of insurers to hold premiums down”, said Price.  “I wouldn’t keep my fingers crossed.” 

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The California Public Interest Research Group  (CALPIRG) is a result-oriented public interest group that protects consumers, encourages a fair sustainable economy, and fosters responsive democratic governance.

staff | TPIN

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