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Insurer Anthem Blue Cross proposes rate hike

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The Anthem Blue Cross headquarters. Anthem Blue Cross, which has the highest number of individual customers in California, raised rates by as much as 68 percent in 2009.

Many Anthem Blue Cross customers could see their rates jump an average of 18 percent in February, under a proposal by the state's largest for-profit health insurer.

The Los Angeles Times says the proposed increases could affect 630,000 individual policyholders, some of whom may see premiums rise as much as 25 percent. In its rate request, Anthem cited rising medical costs.

The rate hikes are among several others proposed by California insurers, including Aetna and Health Net.

Insurance regulators will review the proposals, but state officials don't have the authority to reject them for being unreasonable.

In 2010, Anthem was forced to back down from a proposed 39 percent rate increase.

This year Anthem has raised premiums up to 14 percent on average, for about 700,000 individual policyholders.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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