No, it’s not just Californians suffering from rising health insurance costs. Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico is proposing on raising its health insurance premiums for its 31,000 New Mexican individual health insurance policyholders by 6.9%. It would be the second significant health insurance hike by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico in three years. In 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico raised health insurance rates for its individual health insurance policyholders, ranging from 18% to 25%.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico claims that it lost over $7 million on individual health insurance policies last year, but at a public hearing on the health insurance rate hikes, policyholders described their anguish at the potential rate increases:
Sonia Shad Goldstein told Ezekiel that her premiums would go up to $809 a month, more than her mortgage.
“I imagine myself, a 60-year-old woman, without health insurance,” Goldstein told Ezekiel. “It scares the bejesus out of me.”
Several other Blue Cross Blue Shield policyholders spoke of potential financial hardships. Some asked him to reject the increase or they’d be forced to cancel their policies and join New Mexico’s already large uninsured population, while others expressed anger at the company.
It is not lost on either consumers or commentators that the Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed hikes sneak in just before a new law takes effect which gives New Mexico insurance officials power to vet a company’s finances, including examining executive pay and surpluses, before approving rate hikes. Without that power, the New Mexico Insurance Division only has a week to consider all the public testimony and the company’s arguments, including actuarial tables, before recommending action.
Blue Cross Blue Shield has threatened that without the rate hike, it may have to stop selling insurance in rural parts of the state where it is hard to buy health insurance. With 430,000, New Mexico already has the second highest rate of uninsureds in the country, trailing only Texas.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to Raise Health Insurance Premiums For Individual Policies
- Blue Shield of California Backs Down, Cancels Health Insurance Rate Hike
- Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina to Refund Almost $156 Million to Health Insurance Policyholders
- DOJ, Michigan Accuse Blue Cross Blue Shield of Anti-Trust, Driving Up Hospital Prices
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Settles Health Insurance Premium Increases With State