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News: 2011 Press Release
For Release: January 11, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Calls On Additional Insurers To Halt Premium Increases
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones today sent a letter to three more of California's largest health insurance carriers - Anthem Blue Cross, Pacificare, and Aetna calling on them to refrain from increasing premiums for at least sixty days beyond the effective dates of their most recent rate filings with the California Department of Insurance. Last week, Commissioner Jones sent a similar letter to Blue Shield after thousands of California policyholders were notified of significant and impending rate increases, with some reaching as high as 59 percent.
"The state's largest health insurers have submitted multiple premium increases for early 2011, and I am very concerned about the impact these increases will have on policyholders, especially since I have not had sufficient time to review these filings," Commissioner Jones said. "These premium increases come at a time when Californians and their families are struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression."
Under California law, the Insurance Commissioner does not have the authority to reject excessive premium increases; however, by asking these insurers for a delay in the implementation of their plans, the Commissioner will have the opportunity to ensure that all proposed increases have been thoroughly reviewed and are in compliance with the law, including the recently enacted SB 1163. SB 1163 requires health plans and insurers to provide detailed actuarial information regarding premium increases, requires regulators to review the actuarial basis for those increases and post the information electronically, and increases from 30 to 60 days the advance notice provided to a consumer prior to any rate increase.
"I have an obligation to California policyholders and to the law to closely scrutinize any rate filings, and that is what I intend to do," Commissioner Jones said. "The request I have made for additional time from these insurers is one that I believe to be both fair and reasonable, given that I was sworn in only last week. I hope they will comply."
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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