Anthem to delay insurance rate hike amid criticism

THOUSAND OAKS — Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross says it's postponing its much-criticized plan to raise rates up to 39 percent for some California residents buying insurance on their own.

Anthem says it will postpone the increase by two months, as requested by the California Department of Insurance.

The company says it welcomes a review by the department, and that its proposed rates reflect anticipated medical costs.

Anthem's plan, coming as more people lose employer-sponsored health insurance, has been criticized by regulators and politicians all week. A congressional committee will hold a hearing on the rate hike on Feb. 24. Obama administration officials have said it doesn't seem justified, given the big profit parent company WellPoint made last year.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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