On July 11, 2011 the California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones made the announcement that Aetna Insurance will reduce their request for a rate increase on a quartely basis from the original 4 percent to 1.1 percent. The 1.1 percent number looks good; however, it is only for one quarter. If he 1.1 percent rate is approved it will mean Aetna Insurance will still be receiving a yearly rate increase of 13.7 percent over last year. The only question which I have for you, the internet reading public, is when was the last time you received a 13.7 percent salary increase? The rate increase for Aetna will affect at least 94,000 policyholders here in California for the coming year, which means less money in their wallets for food, clothing, shelter, gas and tuition hikes.
The Commissioner is quoted as saying that he was “pleased that Aetna has agreed to reduce their proposed rate increase to the 1.1 percent total,” I am not at all pleased, because that statement sends a message to Aetna and every other HMO and insurance provider in this state that increases, as long as they are not too outrageous, are going to be permitted. In this current economic climate with California among the top states in unemployment and under-employment totals, we need insurers to realize the gravity of the situation and give us zero increases, particularly in the HMO and PPO lines.
What is taking place at the present time is exactly what I wrote about previously. In my article entitled Billions of Dollars for Policyholders published 07-04-2011 see joltleft.com/home-and-business-insurance-in-los-angeles/Billions-of-… and in my article of 01-09-2011 entitled Blue Shield Shenanigans see joltleft.com/home-and-business-insurance-in-los-angeles-/Blue-Shield….
The Health Insurance providers and the Insurance Commissioner apparently feel that if the HMO’s come to the Commissioner asking for 40%-50% yearly increases, and then settle for a mere 13.7%, they will get what they want and the Commissioner will appear to be a hero to the voting public, who will remember his name with favor when he seeks higher office here in California. These tactics of asking for an amount you know that you will not get in order to get what you want in a final settlement are classic insurance company and attorney negotiation tactics in which everyone comes out the winner.
The problem that we are facing here is that gas prices keep going up, food prices are going up, tuition at our State Universities, Colleges and Junior Colleges are on the rise, people cnnot afford the high price of staying well.
If I have to feel the pain of the current economy, then I believe Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and the rest of the HMO corporate giants should feel it as well. Why don’t we all tell the Commissioner just what we think about Aetna policyholders who have to deal with having an extra 13.7 percent taken from their pay checks? You can write to the Commissioner at www.insurance.ca.gov and let Commissioner Jones know what you think.