Blue Shield of California has announced that they will raise rates on many of their individual and family plans effective July 1, 2009. The rate increases state-wide range from +7% for the Vital Shield plans; +14-15% for the Balance Plans; and a whopping +23-24% for the Essential 1750 plan. These are state-wide averages and some people could experience larger increases.

The Essential 1750 has been a very popular plan. Apparently its relatively low price and solid benefits have led to lots of people enrolling who have used more medical services than Blue Shield originally intended. Nobody likes to see 20+% rate increases – not even the insurance companies.

Blue Shield offers newly enrolled members a 12 month rate guarantee so rates impact new enrollees and current enrolless as they come off of their rate guarantee period. People who want to offset the rate increase can down grade to a lower cost plan. Sometimes Blue Shield of California requires medical underwriting in order to change plans. To figure out which plan you can change to without medical underwriting, contact us at, 800-746-0045. We can assist you with this.

If you would like to evaluate other Blue Shield health insurance plans or comparable plans from Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net or Aetna, you can get a quote here. This simplified individual and family Blue Shield plan comparison guide can assist you in comparing plans. This comprehensive plan benefit description guide has a great deal of information on all of the Blue Shield plans.