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Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individualsInsurer says the increases result from fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws. The move comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39%.Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the Blue Shield move underscored the need for the Legislature to give the insurance commissioner legal authority to regulate insurance rates the same way he does automobile coverage.Blue Shield said the cost of health coverage was being driven up by large hospital expenses, doctors' bills and prescription drug prices. Blue Shield's Epstein said other factors also contributed to the three increases in five months.Spokesman Tom Epstein said Blue Shield raised rates again Jan. 1 to pay for changes under the national healthcare overhaul and a new state law that bars insurers from charging women more than men. (Some policyholders will pay less under the state gender law, while others will pay more.)
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