Blue Shield of California drops controversial rate hike proposal

BCS became a political lighting rod on Capitol Hill in January when it proposed raising some individual plan rates by up to 59 percent. Some Republicans said the proposed hike was evidence that healthcare reform would drive insurance costs through the roof by requiring more comprehensive coverage; Democrats argued that the rate hike proposal proved that health reform's insurance regulations - including its oversight requirements on "unreasonable" rate hikes - were vital.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones had asked for a 60-day freeze on rate hikes after Blue Shield's filing. A subsequent actuarial review found that the rate proposal was reasonable, not excessive, and met the medical loss ratio requirements of state and federal law.

In its statement Wednesday, the insurer reached out to state and federal officials to do their part in keeping medical costs low. The company said regulators should act to restrain rising costs and utilization of healthcare services, while striving to create a "consistent, predictable and fair regulatory environment."

This story was updated at 4 p.m. to indicate that an actuarial review of the Blue Shield request did not contain errors.