S.F., Labor Unions Urge Kaiser To Revise Planned 2014 Premium Rate Hike
San Francisco city officials and several labor unions are demanding that Kaiser Permanente justify its planned premium rate hike for 2014 and develop an alternate rate proposal, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Kaiser Permanente has proposed a 5.5% rate hike for next year.
San Francisco's Health Service System found that Kaiser members in San Francisco have been using fewer services because of the enrollment of families with young children, who often have fewer health problems.
Although such families' use of hospital, physician and prescription drug services has decreased by as much as 16% since 2011, Kaiser health plan costs have increased by 11%, according to HSS.
Details of Coalition's Demands
In addition to justifying the rate increase, labor unions and San Francisco city officials are demanding that Kaiser develop an alternate proposal that:
- Caps the insurer's profits;
- Links rates to the use of health care services; and
- Provides greater transparency regarding any rate increases.
Sally Covington of Community Campaigns for Quality Care -- a not-for-profit that is working with labor unions on the initiative -- said the coalition of San Francisco city officials and labor unions is a "huge ... opportunity," adding, "We do not know of any other instance where these kinds of forces have been realigned in this manner."
In a statement, a spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente, said that the planned 2014 rate hike is "fair and competitive." The spokesperson added that Kaiser would continue to meet with city officials "to explain our renewal pricing and cost structure" (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.