News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: February 13, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Commissioner Poizner Announces Anthem Blue Cross Agrees To Delay Health Insurance Increase
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to a Feb. 8 request by Commissioner Poizner to delay their individual health insurance rate increase until May 1 to allow an independent actuary to review their rates.
"I'm pleased by Anthem Blue Cross's decision to delay their rate increases for two months to allow independent actuaries hired by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to closely scrutinize their 2010 rates," said Commissioner Poizner. "We have instructed the actuaries to review the rates with a fine tooth comb to ensure they comply with state law that requires that 70 cents of every dollar in premiums is spent on medical benefits. Should 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."
Yesterday, CDI retained David Axene and John Fritz of the actuarial firm Axene Health Partners, LLC in Southern California to provide the independent analysis. The review is expected to be completed by mid-April.
Last Monday, Commissioner Poizner sent a letter to WellPoint Anthem President and CEO Angela F. Braly and Chairman of the Board Larry C. Glasscock asking them to delay their California affiliate Anthem Blue Cross's rate increases until May 1. They complied with the request today.
Commissioner Poizner has worked aggressively to protect consumers. His strong actions have led to insurance companies paying millions of dollars in fines and reimbursements for improperly rescinding nearly 4,000 individual health insurance policies. He has also introduced regulations to prevent future improper rescissions.
CDI is also currently undertaking an enforcement action against PacifiCare for thousands of alleged violations of the California Insurance Code based on PacifiCare's failure to properly process claims from physicians, failure to meet its payment obligations on a timely basis, and a host of other improper claims paying practices. The alleged violations came on the heels of PacifiCare's acquisition by United Health Group, now one of the two largest health insurance companies in the United States. Since filing the Accusation, the Department of Insurance has continued to receive complaints from patients and providers about PacifiCare. A copy of the Accusation can be found by selecting this link.
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