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Anthem Blue Cross, again, seeks dramatic rate increases on individual policies




The Anthem Blue Cross headquarters is seen after the health insurer began informing its individual policyholders of rate hikes up to 39 percent to take effect at the beginning of March, on February 9, 2010 in Woodland Hills, California.
The Anthem Blue Cross headquarters is seen after the health insurer began informing its individual policyholders of rate hikes up to 39 percent to take effect at the beginning of March, on February 9, 2010 in Woodland Hills, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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It’s déjà vu all over again—almost a year ago exactly Anthem, the California division of Blue Cross health insurers, proposed raising rates on individual policy holders by as much as 39%. That rate increase was stalled and eventually scaled back due to mathematical inaccuracies in Anthem’s rate filings, as pointed out by the California Insurance Commissioners office. This time around Anthem has notified its individual plan holders that rates will be going up effective May 1, creating a cumulative rise in rates in excess of 40% for some consumers in less than a year. Anthem claims that its individual policies remain competitively priced, and that the policies actually operated at a loss in 2010 in California. Anthem is not alone in seeking new rate increases, as Blue Shield has proposed cumulative increases for some of its individual policyholders that could top out at 59%. Is there any relief coming for holders of individual insurance policies in California?

Guests:

Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner

Rep. John Garamendi, Democrat from California’s 10th District, representing Northern California; former lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner for the state and a member of the House committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Science and Technology, and Armed Services