California’s largest for-profit health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, announced yesterday a revised plan to increase rates an average of 14 percent and as much as 20 percent for its policyholders. This is two months after the agency discovered numerous mathematical errors in its initial rate plan, which called for an even larger 39 percent increase. Anthem argues that rate hikes are "necessary and unavoidable" while customers are outraged by the seemingly excessive increases, stating Anthem is focused on corporate, rather than patient, welfare. The Department of Insurance, headed by Steve Poizner, will closely review the new plan, but ultimately the department has no authority to block rate increases. Should Anthem Blue Cross be allowed to impose such steep rate hikes, and are they really called for?
Daryl Ng, Spokesman for Steve Poizner, California Insurance Commissioner
Robert Zirkelbach, Press Secretary, America's Health Insurance Plans, a national trade association representing nearly 1,300 health insurance companies
Jamie Court, President, Consumer Watchdog