CalPERS panel backs insurance rate hike

06/19/2013 12:00 AM

06/19/2013 8:16 AM

A CalPERS committee Tuesday recommended 2014 health insurance rates that will collectively raise premiums by 3.03 percent, the smallest increase since 1998.

The Pension and Health Benefits Committee's recommendations include an average increase of nearly 6 percent for some plans while lowering prices for some Medicare coverage by almost 9 percent.

The fund's full Board of Administration will vote on the 2014 premium schedules today. If approved, the new rates take effect Jan. 1.

The system spends $7 billion annually on health care, and its 2013 premiums rose an average of 9.6 percent over last year, the biggest rate hike in years.

Earlier this year in an effort to hold down costs, CalPERS ended Blue Shield of California's virtual monopoly on the fund's HMO business. Next year, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, Sharp and United Health Care will get some of the 400,000 or so members who have HMO coverage through the fund.

Call The Bee's Jon Ortiz, (916) 321-1043. Follow him on Twitter @thestateworker and read his blog, The State Worker.

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