AirTalk for February 5, 2010

Is Anthem gouging its customers?

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A doctor and an emergency room nurse care for a patient in the ER of Mission Community Hospital on January 28, 2009 in Panorama City, California.

Health insurer Anthem Blue Cross is increasing its rates for Californians with individual policies, with reports of premium increases of as much as 39%. Individual policies are often used by those who are self-employed, or who do not receive coverage through their employer. In response, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has called for an investigation of the rate hikes. Under California law, insurers can increase rates an anytime, but must notify the state Department of Insurance and prove that they are spending 70% of premiums on medical care.

Guests:


Robert Zirkelbach, Press Secretary, America's Health Insurance Plans, a national trade association representing nearly 1,300 health insurance companies

Daryl Ng, Spokesman for Steve Poizner, California Insurance Commissioner

Shana Alex Lavarreda, MPP, Director of Health Insurance Studies, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research


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