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CA Department of Insurance

Insurance Commissioner responds to Anthem’s move lower their excessive rate increase on small business

News: 2014 Press Release

For Release: October 22, 2014
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Commissioner responds to Anthem’s move to lower their excessive rate increase on small business

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -"Earlier today the Department of Insurance announced its finding that the Anthem Blue Cross average rate increase of 9.8 percent on small businesses was excessive and unreasonable. Before the announcement, Anthem refused the department's request to lower its rate increase to 2.1 percent.

After the announcement that the rate was unreasonable and excessive, Anthem told some reporters that they will lower the increase to 7.8 percent. Anthem has not shared this with the Department of Insurance and had already begun imposing the 9.8 percent average increase on some small employers. Now that their excessive rate increase is making headlines, Anthem has made the decision to continue charging an excessive rate, but a slightly lower one, so they have a talking point for the media.

Anthem's reduction of the rate increase, if true, demonstrates that the Department of Insurance was correct in finding Anthem's rate excessive and unreasonable. Anthem's newly revised increase of 7.8 percent is still excessive and unreasonable. 

Anthem's excessive rate increase further demonstrates the need for California to have the authority to reject excessive health insurance rates just as 35 other states do, rather than letting Anthem Blue Cross decide unilaterally whether to charge a slightly lower excessive rate when subject to media scrutiny or to engage in accounting maneuvers designed to hide the true level of the company's excessive profits."

Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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