After a considerable stable health insurance market in 2011, Californias largest health insurers are raising their average rates by approximately eight to 14 percent for hundreds of thousands of customers who have individual coverage, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. This is a hardship for Californians, as affordable health insurance is almost impossible to find in Santa Monica.
While federal figures show that the cost of goods and services associated with healthcare have grown approximately 3.6 percent nationally over the past year, California’s rates are outpacing that.
According to the Times, Anthem Blue Cross –– the state’s largest for-profit health insurer — has proposed raising premiums 9.6 percent to 13.8 percent on average, effective May 1 or July 1 for 700,000 individual policyholders. The company tried to raise rates by up to 39 percent in 2010, but was forced to back down.
Non-profit Kaiser Permanente raised premiums by an average of nine percent for nearly 300,000 customers last month, and Blue Shield of California customers will see a hike of either 7.9 percent or 8.9 percent starting March 1. Aetna planned to increase premiums by 13.7 percent, but was convinced by the California Department of Insurance to lower that to 9.3.
In a statement, Darrel Ng, spokesperson for Anthem Blue Cross, acknowledged that “the current rate of health care cost growth in California is unsustainable.”
These rate increases create hardships for everyone,especially as our incomes have slowed in recent years and the cost for energy and food consumption have risen sharply in the last months.
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