Anthem Blue Cross has caved to regulators and agreed to delay their controversial health insurance rate increases of up to 39% which were originally due to begin on March 1st. California State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has announced that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to postpone the health insurance rate increases until at least May 1st, giving the outside health insurance actuarial analysts to examine the rate increases for any violations of California state law.
California state insurance law requires that 70 cents out of each health insurance premium dollar go towards paying for actual medical care. Critics point out that Wellpoint (Anthem Blue Cross’ parent company) enjoyed record profits in the final quarter of 2009 and voice puzzlement regarding the need for such significant health insurance premium increases.
We’ll see if these independent actuarial experts uncover anything new. As required by California law, Anthem Blue Cross already filed these rate increases with the California State Insurance Commission before announcing them, so it’s not like this is the first time they are being examined and analyzed to meet the 70% test. Anthem Blue Cross would not have submitted them without being confident that they would pass actuarial muster under California insurance law.
Still, the delay gives both state regulators and the feds more time to challenge Anthem Blue Cross, and we cannot complain about that.
- Update: Department of Health and Human Services Inquiry on Anthem Blue Cross Rate Hikes
- Everyone in the Pool: Congress Launches Investigation into Anthem Blue Cross Health Insurance Rate Increases
- Follow-Up: LA Times Column on Impact of Anthem Blue Cross Health Insurance Rate Increases
- Anthem Blue Cross Hikes Health Insurance Rates Up to 39%
- High-Deductible (Catastrophic) Health Insurance Plans: What Are They? Are They Worth It?