Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Skeptical policyholders are dismissing Blue Shield of California's decision to cut premiums this fall. Blue Shield insists it wants to make coverage more affordable, by cutting rates beginning in October.
SAN DIEGO Blue Shield of California's announcement that it will cut health insurance premiums is getting a ho-hum reaction from some policy holders. The insurer promises it will reduce rates by up to two-and-a-half percent in October.
Individual policy holders have seen two double-digit rate hikes from Blue Shield over the last year. In March, the insurer backed off on another proposed increase after much public outcry.
Billy Stevens runs an auto repair shop in North County. He doesn't want his real name used for fear Blue Shield would cancel his policy.
"I don't see how they could say one minute they needed a 40 percent increase, and now they're saying they could reduce by 2 percent", Stevens said. "It don't make any sense to me, and I think it's just a ploy to keep people off their back right now."
Blue Shield said the rate decrease has been planned for months. The insurer says it's part of an effort to make coverage more affordable.
The rate reduction will affect more than 3 million policy holders. Blue Shield has about 10 percent of California's health insurance market.