FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2011
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Blue Shield of California’s proposed rate increase
“The people of California have a right to be concerned when they see this kind of rate increase month after month. We have reached out to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and know he is doing everything in his power to help consumers. We stand ready to assist him and the people of California in any way that we can.
“Some have incorrectly claimed that these increases were the result of the health care law. Nothing could be further from the truth. Blue Shield pointed out in their statement this morning that their increases are not the result of the Affordable Care Act.
“The practice of insurers imposing these kinds of rate increases without public scrutiny would be the wave of the future without the Affordable Care Act. If the law were repealed, we would be left with few tools to protect consumers against these kinds of rate increases. Insurers would be able to spend more on profits, marketing, and CEO bonuses, instead of care. Families and small businesses would lose their ability to negotiate more competitive rates in the Exchanges, and insurers would again be able to deny coverage to children based on their pre-existing health conditions.”
Background on the Affordable Care Act and Rate Review Grants:
The Affordable Care Act is helping states hold insurance companies accountable with new proposed rules that would improve oversight and transparency when insurers propose significant rate increases. New funds to strengthen states’ abilities to review and reject unreasonable premium hikes are provided by the Act. HHS has already awarded $46 million in rate review grants to states including $1 million to California, and will be providing $200 million more for states to strengthen and expand rate review programs on the state level in the near future.
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Last revised: May 7, 2011