In a scramble to raise health insurance rates before the price restrictions of the Affordable Care Act health insurance companies are raising premiums by double digits for some customers. Aetna has proposed a 22 percent raise and Blue Shield a 26 percent raise, according to filings.
Small business owners and those without employer-provided insurance are particular vulnerable to the rate increases.
According to the new health care law, regulators are required to review any increase of more than 10 percent, but only in some states are regulators allowed to deny the proposed raises. In New York for example, regulators have authority to deny raises, but in California regulators only review raises for technical errors.
Insurance companies claim the increases in rates reflect an increase in heath care costs. But critics, contend that costs have risen far less than the amount by which rates have gone up.