Only on the job since Monday, Dave Jones wants to take a closer look at the stunning hikes for individual policyholders - in some cases as much as much as 59 percent. "I believe the premium increases are unsustainable," Jones said in a meeting with the LAT. He wants Blue Shield to hold off on the rate hikes for 60 days, though the state insurance commissioner has only limited power in regulating rates for health coverage.
"These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform," the company said. "Our individual-market medical costs are rising rapidly due to higher provider prices, increased utilization, and the fact that healthier people are dropping coverage during a bad economy." Blue Shield said that even with the rate hikes, it expects to lose "tens of millions of dollars on its individual healthcare business in both 2010 and 2011."