California insurers can't escape overcharging taint: Blue Shield faces new lawsuit

Blue Shield of California is facing a lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles woman who says that the nonprofit insurer knowingly exceeded state-set maximum rates for safety-net insurance for people who have lost their jobs or who have pre-existing conditions, while telling regulators that its charges fell within those guidelines, reports the Los Angeles Times. Amalia Lample, 64, claims that Blue Shield owes her $4,475 in excess charges from 2007 to 2009--and that more than 6,000 additional policyholders have been similarly overcharged since 2001. Lample is seeking class-action status for her lawsuit. Whether Blue Shield actually overcharged safety-net insurance policyholders doesn't have an easy answer. The way the state calculates maximum rates is open to interpretation under the current law. So the California Department of Managed Health Care is sponsoring a bill to "eliminate any question," spokeswoman Lynne Randolph told the Times. Article