Blue Shield Of California Asked To Delay Rate Hike

California's top insurance watchdog is asking one of his state's biggest health insurers to delay a planned rate increase for nearly 200,000 policyholders. For some, the rate hike by Blue Shield of California would be as high as 59 percent. It would be the third hike since last fall. Blue Shield says the increases are not related to health care overhaul.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with a fight over health care costs.

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INSKEEP: California's top insurance watchdog is asking one of the state's biggest health companies to delay a planned rate increase. The increase would affect almost 200,000 policyholders. For some people, the rate hike by Blue Shield of California would be as high as 59 percent. It would be the third rate hike since last fall.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius voiced her concerns in Washington, where Republicans in Congress are pushing to repeal the new health care law.

Blue Shield says the increase is not related to health care overhauls in Washington. The company says it's facing higher prices from health care providers, increased use from policyholders and healthier people dropping their coverage.

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