New Mexico – Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the New Mexico insurance superintendent have signed off on a rate hike on insurance premiums, less than an hour before a state Public Regulation Commission hearing to hear opposition to the plan.
Public Regulation Commissioner Jason Marks calls Monday's agreement a back room deal announced before the public had a chance to comment.
The hearing was called after a 24 percent increase in Blue Cross and Blue Shield premiums in December.
The revised rates allow the company to raise premiums by an average of 21 percent.
A spokeswoman says that will affect 40,000 New Mexico customers.
The increase is retroactive to April 1.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield attorney Paul Bardacke says the company needs higher rates to cover costs.
Information from: KOB-TV, http://www.kob.com
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.