Anthem Blue Cross Reduced Their Increases in California

Remember back in 2010 when Anthem Blue Cross, based in Woodland Hills, reduced their proposed rate increase?  Well, they’ve done it again!

Last week, we received an email from Anthem (which you can read in its entirity here) stating that, after negotiating with the California Department of Insurance (CDI),  they have reduced their increase from 17.9% to 13.9%.  “As a result of the revised rates, the majority of…individual clients will receive a lower rate than previously communicated.” According to the AP, the increase will affect 630,000 individual policy holders and save those policyholders an estmated $54 million.

The same AP story said that Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones “lauded Anthem’s move as health insurance premiums continue to soar. Even with this decrease, Jones said, Anthem policyholders still experienced an average 22 percent rate increase in the previous 12 months.” Ouch!

A Consumer Watchdog post stated that “Unlike at least 35 other states, California does not require health insurance companies to get approval for rate hikes before they take effect. ”  And that “An initiative measure that will appear on the next general election ballot (in 2014) would give California the authority to publicly review rate increases, and reject those that are excessive before they take effect. It also gives the insurance commissioner the ability to require refunds to consumers of any rate increase, including Anthem’s, that is found to be excessive.”  Consumer Watchdog is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization with offices in Santa Monica, CA and Washington, DC.”

Anthem’s email went on to say that it will “allow policyholders who switched to a lower cost product to switch back to their former product. The members who dropped coverage because of the rate increase can reinstate in the product they recently dropped without going through medical underwriting.”  The rate increase was effective Feb. 01, 2013.

While this may not be great news, it is good news to many that do like Anthem but couldn’t handle such a large increase.  Perhaps this reduction will bring some folks back to their previous Anthem policy.  If you need help working with Anthem to get back into coverage you previously relinquished, please call our office as we’d be happy to help you!

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