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Blue Shield fucks the public yet again, with rate hikes up to 20%


By Patrick   Follow   Fri, 28 Dec 2012, 3:07am PST   3,652 views   63 comments
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http://articles.latimes.com/2012/dec/13/business/la-fi-blue-shield-rates-20121213

And this is while Blue Shield of California is sitting on $3.9 billion in cash that it doesn't know what to do with.

And the growth in that mongo cash pile has also outpaced the company's 19% extortionistic growth in annual revenue since 2006. Not bad for a supposedly "non-profit" company!

This is why the California Insurance Commissioner needs the ability to approve or deny medical insurers' rate hikes, the same way it is with car insurance already.

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David Losh   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 1:42am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 24

Meccos says

why are you even making arguments about health insurance companies then?

We have a pathetic system of managing the premium pool that goes to paying salaries, sets up the very death panels conservatives fear, and lower the availability of Health Care.

The argument for Health Insurance is that it increases the quality of Health Care services, but that all depends on the Insurance coverage you have.

The trick of any corporation is to pay higher salaries to attract those people who can find the most money, for the share holders.

So Health Insurance points to it's low profits, but the stock prices tell a different story.

Meccos   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 1:48am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 25

David Losh says

Meccos says

So going out of business is not so bad eh?

It's not if you have collected all you can out of the system.

Insurance companies go out of business for a lot of reasons then sell off the client list.

The fact that so many go out of business really doesnt help your argument does it?

Meccos   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 1:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 26

David Losh says

We have a pathetic system of managing the premium pool that goes to paying salaries, sets up the very death panels conservatives fear, and lower the availability of Health Care.

Lets thank the ACA for making this worse...

David Losh says

The argument for Health Insurance is that it increases the quality of Health Care services, but that all depends on the Insurance coverage you have.

Yes, you are right. Not everyone has the same coverage. Just like some people have better auto insurance plans.... and your point is???

David Losh says

The trick of any corporation is to pay higher salaries to attract those people who can find the most money, for the share holders.

So Health Insurance points to it's low profits, but the stock prices tell a different story.

Many health plans are non-profit... there are no share holders.

David Losh   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 1:59am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 27

Meccos says

The fact that so many go out of business really doesnt help your argument does it?

It fits perfectly into why we need to get health care out of the insurance industry.

The prize in the insurance industry are the salaries, and stock prices, and if the company can be absorbed into a larger Insurance Company premium pool.

Health Insurance is all about the money.

Meccos   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 2:17am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 28

David Losh says

Meccos says

The fact that so many go out of business really doesnt help your argument does it?

It fits perfectly into why we need to get health care out of the insurance industry.

The prize in the insurance industry are the salaries, and stock prices, and if the company can be absorbed into a larger Insurance Company premium pool.

Health Insurance is all about the money.

You can simply pay out of pocket and that will solve your problems...

David Losh   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 2:43am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 29

Meccos says

Just like some people have better auto insurance plans.... and your point is???

I love the comparison to auto insurance, or non profit, versus stock holder accountability.

Number one the auto industry is a for profit entity heavily subsidized by the government, in terms of product safety. The human body is different, and no premium pool can determine by it's payers where they will pay the most. That's how AIDs lost insurance companies billions of dollars.

That also makes health care a matter of our national concern. Health Care needs to be cohesive. We need to dedicate all resources to finding cures for things like cancer.

Health Insurance is just another stumbling block in concerting efforts to being curative. Where is the incentive for an Insurance Company to be on the cutting edge of research? They leave that to others, which is another cog in the wheel.

Research, for profit, and profit alone, is a slow process that concentrates resources where it will get the highest returns. Billions are wasted by duplication.

Health Insurance has no incentive to make Health Care more affordable, to broaden the base, or even provide a higher quality of care, except by what will be the most cost effective selling point to the consumer.

A hospital can look really good, but that has little to do with the care you would get.

The auto industry, and it's insurance are heavily regulated, and I think those who work on the human body should be held to a much higher standard.

The Insurance Industry is obstructing our ability to access health care, by price. We need to lower the price for health care. We can do that by dedicating more resources, premiums, directly to care.

David Losh   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 2:49am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 30

Meccos says

You can simply pay out of pocket and that will solve your problems...

Sure if you can make the same payments the insurance company gets, otherwise you pay full retail.

Each cog in the Health Insurance wheel is another racket. This is what makes it so sick (pun intended). The Clinic, or hospital has a number they want to hit, so they bargain for every dollar.

Some comes from private pay, some from insurance, a lot from the government, and what ever donations they can take in, which is another sales tool.

The government pays a rate, each health insurance company has a rate, and the poor dumb private pay, pays double.

We need to get the insurance companies out of the equation because under the current system, both private pay, and the government are subsidizing the insurance industry.

Bap33   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 3:08am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 31

instead of gaurenteed payment to the Medical Complex, I suggest all forms of welfare be removed from all areas of the Medical Complex. Then, I suggest all forms of Medical insurance be outlaws, forcing the Medical Complex to charge a fee for service that can be afforded by their customers.

The welfare system that gaurentees payment removes all market forces and screws the middle class person that plays by the rules and got a job w/insurance. The prices are pulled from someones ass and there is no competition.

Next, school teachers union is ended. Then, California may get some good teachers paid well, and poor teachers sent packing.

Patrick   Tue, 1 Jan 2013, 3:54am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 32

David Losh says

The government pays a rate, each health insurance company has a rate, and the poor dumb private pay, pays double.

That poor dumb private guy would be me.

Meccos   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 9:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 33

David Losh says

Where is the incentive for an Insurance Company to be on the cutting edge of research?

Why do you feel insurance companies need to be on the cutting edge of research? They have no business being in research, nor should they. There are many other avenues for research and the insurance industry is one avenue that does not need to be in it.

David Losh says

Research, for profit, and profit alone, is a slow process that concentrates resources where it will get the highest returns.

There is nothing wrong with research for the sake of profit. Just like in any other industry, I would argue that this yields many helpful discoveries. Money is a good incentive to produce...

David Losh says

Health Insurance has no incentive to make Health Care more affordable, to broaden the base, or even provide a higher quality of care, except by what will be the most cost effective selling point to the consumer.

Free market competition does motivate companies to make things more affordable, broaden the base and increase quality of care. Companies only stop caring when free market competition is taken away. You realize that medical insurance companies are always trying to earn "quality awards" such as CAPE or medicare 5 star awards, so that when they present their policies to large companies, they will be more attractive. In fact many corporations look at these, in addition to the value of the plans when deciding to offer it to their employees.

David Losh says

The Insurance Industry is obstructing our ability to access health care, by price

This may be somewhat true, but the ACA definitely didnt help it any...

PS at the end of reading your post, I didnt see the point of your VERY long post...

Meccos   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 9:37am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 34

David Losh says

Meccos says

You can simply pay out of pocket and that will solve your problems...

Sure if you can make the same payments the insurance company gets, otherwise you pay full retail.

If you approach most doctors with offers of cash pay, they will charge you SIGNIFICANTLY less. This is because doctors get paid a small percentage to what they bill insurance companies. Plus doctors wont have to hire someone full time to deal with the crazy coding.

zzyzzx   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 10:43am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 35

David Losh says

So Health Insurance points to it's low profits, but the stock prices tell a different story.

Link?

David Losh   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 10:47am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 36

zzyzzx says

Link?

http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2012/06/28/on-heels-of-supreme-court-decision.html?page=all

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35982077/ns/business-stocks_and_economy/t/stocks-led-health-care-companies-end/

They are too numerous to list, but there are a couple.

David Losh   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 10:50am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 37

Meccos says

PS at the end of reading your post, I didnt see the point of your VERY long post...

Meccos says

If you approach most doctors with offers of cash pay, they will charge you SIGNIFICANTLY less. This is because doctors get paid a small percentage to what they bill insurance companies. Plus doctors wont have to hire someone full time to deal with the crazy coding.

David Losh says

The Insurance Industry is obstructing our ability to access health care, by price. We need to lower the price for health care. We can do that by dedicating more resources, premiums, directly to care.

David Losh   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 10:51am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 38

Let me repeat, that the Health Insurance Industry has done nothing to help provide Health Care, they are only a means to get money for doing nothing, but shuffling paper.

carrieon   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 10:56am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 39

People without health insurance don't complain about healthcare costs.
That's about half the population. Join them by quit paying for it, or stop complaining.

Dan8267   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 11:32am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 40

Is there any health insurance company that doesn't suck?

Patrick   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 11:34am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 41

David Losh says

Let me repeat, that the Health Insurance Industry has done nothing to help provide Health Care, they are only a means to get money for doing nothing, but shuffling paper.

That means they are something the government could actually do more efficiently than the private sector.

Dan8267 says

Is there any health insurance company that doesn't suck?

Not that I've heard of.

Dan8267   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 12:30pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 42

Patrick says

That means they are something the government could actually do more efficiently than the private sector.

Exactly. There is no reason why health insurance should be private. The health insurance companies are not producing anything. Nor are they mitigating our risk, as the real reason people need insurance is that you get way overcharged (by orders of magnitude) if you don't have insurance. Nor is there any risk that a health insurance company takes. When an insurance provider grows to a certain size, his risk becomes zero because everything evens out.

Thus, there is nothing in capitalistic theory that states that insurance should be a profitable enterprise. It should be 100% efficient meaning zero profits. And since corporations cannot handle doing business in a 100% efficient market, that leaves just non-profits and government.

Health insurance is much more like running lighthouses or the highway transportation system than like running a business. There's nothing that private enterprise can do to improve it, only make it worse. And the whole damn thing should be automated anyway.

Meccos   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 1:50pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 43

Dan8267 says

It should be 100% efficient meaning zero profits. And since corporations cannot handle doing business in a 100% efficient market, that leaves just non-profits and government.

Nothing is 100% efficient. Also 100% efficient does not mean zero profits. Many health insurances companies are non-profit.
And how do you figure that if corporations cannot be 100% efficient, that the GOVERNMENT can be? The government is often the most inefficient.

Dan8267   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:03pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 44

Meccos says

Nothing is 100% efficient.

Fine, asymptotically approaching 100% efficiency to within 1 part in a trillion. For all practical purposes, that's 100% efficient.

Meccos says

Also 100% efficient does not mean zero profits.

A fully efficient market, by definition, yields zero economic profit, which is what most people are talking about when using the word profit. Yes, "normal" profit will still occur, but that's usually called overhead or expenses.

Kevin   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:03pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 45

Meccos says

Nothing is 100% efficient. Also 100% efficient does not mean zero profits. Many health insurances companies are non-profit.

And how do you figure that if corporations cannot be 100% efficient, that the GOVERNMENT can be? The government is often the most inefficient.

Profits are, by definition, inefficiency. In a perfect economic system, all companies would operate with all profits being reinvested. Please take econ 101.

Of course, we don't have a perfect economic system, and companies need cushions to guard against losses and future uncertainty.

Generally speaking, government is only more inefficient than private business in two scenarios:

1. Corruption

2. Intentional inefficiency.

Category 1 isn't really that big of a deal in the US. Category 2 is, but most people don't understand why.

Medicare and Social Security are huge government programs that are both provably more efficient than their private-industry counterparts (private health insurance and pension funds)

The most inefficient part of the government is defense, and defense is INTENTIONALLY inefficient. It's a jobs program. We have zero need for fighter jets and aircraft carriers, and yet we spend billions upon billions building them and then letting them sit around doing nothing until they're replaced. We do this to employ people.

There are probably more efficient (and productive!) jobs programs out there, but our culture isn't in a place where we'd accept them. It's easy to sell 'defense' to a war-like people.

Dan8267   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:05pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 46

Kevin says

Profits are, by definition, inefficiency.

Another perfectly good way of looking at it. Of course, once again, we're talking economic profit as oppose to normal profit.

Dan8267   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:06pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 47

Kevin says

It's easy to sell 'defense' to a war-like people.

More precisely, it's easy to sell "defense" to a cowardly people.

Meccos   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:23pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 48

Kevin says

Profits are, by definition, inefficiency. In a perfect economic system, all companies would operate with all profits being reinvested. Please take econ 101.

If you are going to criticize, it would be best if you actually correctly read what I wrote.

Kevin   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 2:56pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 49

Meccos says

Kevin says

Profits are, by definition, inefficiency. In a perfect economic system, all companies would operate with all profits being reinvested. Please take econ 101.

If you are going to criticize, it would be best if you actually correctly read what I wrote.

You wrote "Also 100% efficient does not mean zero profits. "

Which is simply false. Have you ever taken a macro economics course? Health care is literally the primary example used when discussing efficiency.

zzyzzx   Wed, 2 Jan 2013, 11:02pm PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 50

Dan8267 says

Is there any health insurance company that doesn't suck?

Kaiser is the only one that comes to mind. I doubt it's the actual insurance company, it's the plan that your employer buys. You don't get the gold plated plan that the CEO and BOD gets.

Meccos   Thu, 3 Jan 2013, 8:59am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 51

Kevin says

Meccos says

Kevin says

Profits are, by definition, inefficiency. In a perfect economic system, all companies would operate with all profits being reinvested. Please take econ 101.

If you are going to criticize, it would be best if you actually correctly read what I wrote.

You wrote "Also 100% efficient does not mean zero profits. "

Which is simply false. Have you ever taken a macro economics course? Health care is literally the primary example used when discussing efficiency.

Kevin, Instead of getting on your soap box about economic theories. I once again challenge you to read what I wrote, especially in context, which is the only way you should read things. Dan was speaking about 100% efficiency and how health insurance companies should be. My point was that they are not and in fact nothing is really, especially in healthcare, hence my following stated was regarding health insurance companies.
I assume you goal here was to try to belittle someone else for knowing less economic theory or terms than you.... and you are probably right. But really?...whats the point in the context of this discussion?

David Losh   Thu, 3 Jan 2013, 10:25am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 52

Kevin says

2. Intentional inefficiency.

I liked this comment a lot.

Intentional ineffeciency is a great term we could use for the private sector also, like banking. Banking provides a lot of jobs.

Health care, and Health Care Insurance provides a lot of jobs. Health Care Insurance has become a multi billion dollar industry of working class jobs.

Those jobs would have to be transferred to the government which I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't be happy with. You don't get all the lavish Christmas Parties at the government workers offices.

GRACE123   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 4:16am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 53

Just received "the package" from Blue Shield of CA with the policy changes. Rate went up 11% effective March 1. Now paying $ 722 pr month for a high deductible plan for me and my husband. We have it just for emergency. Trying to stay healthy. Good luck to all the independent insurance buyers.

Homeboy   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 4:30am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 54

Did you try Anthem? Mine is $119 with a $5000 deductible for one person. And that's after a 21% rate increase.

Peter P   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 4:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 55

Homeboy says

Did you try Anthem? Mine is $119 with a $5000 deductible for one person. And that's after a 21% rate increase.

Does it cover pregnancy/delivery?

GRACE123   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 4:45am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 56

Depends on your age. $ 119 pr month? You must be under 35.

Homeboy   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 6:18am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 57

GRACE123 says

You must be under 35.

Nope. I'm over 40.

I know, I was surprised at how cheap it was.

Homeboy   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 6:22am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 58

Peter P says

Does it cover pregnancy/delivery?

Don't know. I don't see any reason it wouldn't. You still would have to pay the $5000 deductible, though. Basically, it's covering meds and it's insurance against anything catastrophic. I would pay full price for any doctor visits until I hit the deductible amount. They were REAL twitchy about what meds I take, though. They gave me the third degree about that. I didn't think they were going to approve the policy, but they did.

Homeboy   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 6:31am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 59

zzyzzx says

Kaiser is the only one that comes to mind. I doubt it's the actual insurance company, it's the plan that your employer buys. You don't get the gold plated plan that the CEO and BOD gets.

I've had Kaiser. It's O.K., but it's sort of the McDonald's of healthcare. To get a doctor appointment less than 2 months away, you had to call at 7:00 am to get a same day "urgent care" appointment and wait on hold for awhile. Sometimes they wouldn't have any spots that day. I heard they don't pay the doctors very well, so there's high turnover. It's tough to get a doctor you like, and often they will transfer or get another job, so then you have to start searching again. And if you need to see a specialist, you could end up driving a long distance to one of their regional centers.

Peter P   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 6:44am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 60

Homeboy says

Don't know. I don't see any reason it wouldn't. You still would have to pay the $5000 deductible, though.

I think some of the cheaper plans exclude delivery.

GRACE123   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 7:09am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 61

Does it cover pregnancy/delivery?

According to my agent, because of the Affordable Care Act, effective July of 2012, plans must include maternity coverage. I know this is true with Blue Shield of CA.

Peter P   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 7:14am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 62

GRACE123 says

According to my agent, because of the Affordable Care Act, effective July of 2012, plans must include maternity coverage. I know this is true with Blue Shield of CA.

That's good.

drew_eckhardt   Sat, 5 Jan 2013, 8:18am PST   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 63

Homeboy says

GRACE123 says

You must be under 35.

Nope. I'm over 40.

I know, I was surprised at how cheap it was.

I noticed that my group plan rates drop when 30 somethings pass into the 40-45 age bracket and thought it might be due to most people finishing breeding before then making the insurance company's chance of paying out for a pregnancy, delivery, and any complications lower.

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