Blue Shield refuses to use stockpile of profits to lower rates

The Los Angeles Times ran a story yesterday on Blue Shield’s high rates and its refusal to use any of the $4.2 billion in profits it has stashed away to lower them. According to a Blue Shield executive, “It’s unreasonable to think we would tap the company's savings account to artificially lower our rates."

Unreasonable? That “savings account” is the profit reaped by charging rates over the years that have been higher than they needed to be. Since Blue Shield is a nonprofit and legally required to operate for public good, using that money to lower rates or otherwise benefit the public is not only reasonable, it’s what Blue Shield is supposed to do.

Instead, they plan to spend $1.25 billion to boost their market share by acquiring another health insurer.