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Other Insurers Follow Anthem’s Lead In Raising Prices

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Aired 2/12/10

Anthem Blue Cross is getting a lot of heat for raising premiums on individual policy holders. But Anthem isn't the only insurer that's charging higher prices.

Anthem Blue Cross is getting a lot of heat for raising premiums on individual policy holders. But Anthem isn't the only insurer that's charging higher prices.

Anthem is raising rates up to 39 percent in California. Other insurers are following Anthem's lead. At least two other companies, Aetna and Health Net, have sent letters out advising members of price hikes.

Jerry Flanagan is with the non-profit group Consumer Watchdog. He says Californians who buy insurance on the individual market are really stuck.

"California has an oligopoly of insurance companies; there's five companies that control 96 percent of the market," Flanagan points out. "And the companies raise rates in tandem, because they know if they all raise rates together, consumers don't have a lower cost alternative."

Flanagan says under current law, there isn't much anyone can do about the price hikes.

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