Read time: 2 minutes

Anthem Backs Off On Huge Rate Increase; Blames 'Flawed' Data

Wow. Good thing we had that independent audit, because otherwise we'd accidentally be paying all that extra money to Anthem Blue Cross for no good rea

Wow. Good thing we had that independent audit, because otherwise we'd accidentally be paying all that extra money to Anthem Blue Cross for no good reason!

LOS ANGELES — Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross withdrew plans to raise health insurance rates for Californians by as much as 39 percent after an independent audit determined the company's justification for raising premiums was based on flawed data, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said Thursday.

Omigod! We should have known it was just a mistake...

Anthem said separately it will file a new application for a rate increase with the California Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Health Care, perhaps as early as next month. It added that any errors in its original application were inadvertent.

"The current application that was withdrawn today was just flawed," Poizner said during a conference call with reporters. He added that it contained mathematical errors and in some instances double counting of data.

Wow. They're usually so careful about stuff like that!

Neither Poizner nor Anthem officials said just how big the insurance giant's next proposed increase would be.

But Poizner, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said he expected it would be substantially less than the original.

"You can count on this," he said. "A 25 percent average rate increase up to a maximum of 39 percent rate increase, that's not going to happen in California."

Among those critical of the initial proposed increase was President Barack Obama, who cited it as an example of out-of-control health costs while arguing for reform.

Anthem notified policyholders last January that the increase would go into effect March 1. After a public outcry, the company put it on hold.

"By refiling our individual rate requests, we will also utilize updated and real-time medical utilization information as well as address inadvertent miscalculations related to the way in which we estimated our future medical costs in our initial filings," the company said in a statement.

"Inadverent" miscalculations. Not like those intentional ones!

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.