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Cost Of Health Insurance Rising For Individual Policy Holders

Audio

Aired 9/8/10

State regulators have approved Health Net's application to raise insurance premiums an average of 16 percent for individual policy holders. The increase follows approved rate hikes for Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross.

— State regulators have approved Health Net's application to raise insurance premiums an average of 16 percent for individual policy holders. The increase follows approved rate hikes for Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross.

Unlike some other states, California doesn't regulate health insurance premiums. The only state requirement is insurers must spend at least 70 cents of each premium dollar on medical care.

The new federal health reform law says rate increases may not be excessive. Bryan Liang, with San Diego's California Western School of Law, isn't sure what that means.

"Is a 5 percent increase excessive? Is a 25 percent increase excessive? Is a 39 percent increase excessive?" asks Liang. "We don't know. Quite honestly right now, there's nothing behind those laws, those rules."

Aetna is the latest insurer to apply for a rate increase. It would average 19 percent. The move would affect 65,000 individual policy holders in California.

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