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Anthem Blue Cross Raises Rates Up To 39 Percent

— Californians who have individual policies with Anthem Blue Cross will soon be paying much higher premiums. The insurer will raise rates up to 39 percent beginning next month.

About 800,000 Californians have individual health policies with Anthem Blue Cross. They've been receiving letters notifying them of premium increases, and some customers will pay thousands more a year.

Shana Alex Lavarreda is with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. She says individual policy holders have to pay whatever the insurer wants.

"When you don't have a big group negotiating on your behalf, it's entirely set based on your own medical history, in most cases," Alex Lavarreda points out. "I mean, these pre-existing conditions. I mean, living is a pre-existing condition in many cases."

Anthem Blue Cross says it shares its members' concerns over the rising cost of health care. At the same time, the insurer says it may increase premiums a number of times during the year.

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Aired 2/5/10

Californians who have individual policies with Anthem Blue Cross will be paying much higher premiums. The insurer will raise rates up to 39 percent beginning next month.

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