As CA Officials Investigate, Anthem Blue Cross Delays Rate Hike

In response to the uproar over their announcement of 39% rate hikes, Anthem has announced they will delay the rate increases until after California officials complete their investigation:

Anthem Blue Cross will postpone by two months a massive rate hike that was set to take effect March 1 pending the results of an outside review launched last week at the behest of California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

The increase, sharply criticized by a top Obama administration official, could impact as many as 800,000 California customers who purchased individual premiums to pay 39 percent more for coverage.

In a conference call with reporters Saturday, Poizner, a GOP gubernatorial candidate, said he reached an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross to delay the start of the rate hike until May 1.

"These are huge, massive rate increases, very concerning to me and my team," Poizner said.

In a letter he sent last Monday to Angela F. Braly, president and chief executive of Anthem's parent company, WellPoint, Inc., and Larry C. Glasscock, WellPoint's chairman, Poizner said the an "outside actuary" will determine if the rate hikes are excessive and if Anthem Blue Cross was spending 70 cents of every dollar on premium medical care as required by state law.

"If we find that their rates are excessive, I will use the full power of my office to bring these rates down," Poizner’s letter stated.

He told reporters Saturday that the actuaries were "instructed ... to review the rates with a fine-tooth comb" and if "they find that these rate increases were unwarranted, I will immediately take action to get Anthem Blue Cross to follow the law and lower their rates."


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