AirTalk for July 1, 2010

Anthem Blue Cross revives plans to hike rates

Mercer 8431

David McNew/Getty Images

The Anthem Blue Cross headquarters is seen on February 9, 2010 in Woodland Hills, California. Anthem Blue Cross, which has the highest number of individual customers in California, raised rates by as much as 68 percent in 2009. Health insurance companies in California can legally raise their rates at any time by as much and as they want.

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?

Guests:


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


blog comments powered by Disqus