CalPERS Readies Nearly 10% Rate Hike; Blue Shield Of Calif. Faces Lawsuit
California's Public Employees' Retirement System premium increase is more than twice as large as last year's. Meanwhile, the lawsuit against Blue Shield alleges that the insurer is seeking to push customers into new options that offer less coverage.
Los Angeles Times: CalPERS Health Premiums Expected To Jump Average Of 9.6% In 2013
California Public Employees' Retirement System, the third-largest purchaser of health benefits in the country, said its health premiums next year are expected to increase 9.6 percent on average for nearly 1.3 million members. These recommended rates from the CalPERS pension and health benefits committee await full board approval Wednesday. If adopted, the rates for various health plans would take affect Jan. 1 (Terhune, 6/12).
Sacramento Bee: CalPERS To Raise Health Care Premiums 9.6 Percent
The California Public Employees' Retirement System plans to raise health care premiums to its members by an average of nearly 10 percent next year, one of the biggest increases in recent years. The increase of 9.6 percent would be more than twice as big as the rate hike that took effect for this year. It would have significant implications for health care affordability in California and beyond (Kasler, 6/12).
San Francisco Chronicle: Blue Shield Sued Over Insurance Policy Shifts
When Blue Shield of California raised the rates for Robert Jeffrey Martin's family insurance policy by 23 percent, the health insurer offered him two options: Stay in his expensive old plan or switch to a policy that offered his family skimpier benefits with a higher deductible. … "I feel like I was being culled from the herd. It was like, 'Let's get rid of these people,' " said Martin, who believes he is part of scheme by the insurer to force policyholders out of older, more comprehensive individual plans into newer options that offer less coverage with higher out-of-pocket costs. Martin is a named plaintiff is a lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court against Blue Shield, a San Francisco company (Colliver, 6/13).
In New York, the attorney general announced a settlement among insurer Group Health, a medical practice and patients after balance billing accusations --
Modern Healthcare: Settlements Announced In Balance-Billing Cases
The New York attorney general's office announced actions against an insurer and a medical practice in Queens that were separately accused of underpaying patient bills and balance-billing patients for nearly $500,000 in three years despite a state law forbidding the activity. Group Health, a subsidiary of New York-based EmblemHealth, agreed as part of the settlement to reimburse patients who were affected when the company declined to pay out-of-network specialists at higher-than-standard rates that it agreed to in contracts (Carlson, 6/12).