Friday, April 8, 2011
California More than 150,000 Anthem Blue Cross policyholders will see an increase in premiums beginning May 1st. Another 600,000 other Anthem members with similar coverage will get much lower rate hikes in July.
The state's health insurance bureaucracy has something to do with it.
The policies of the 600,000 Anthem members are overseen by state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He applied pressure to get the insurer to reduce and delay rate increases.
The 150,000 other individual policyholders fall under the purview of the Department of Managed Health Care. That agency has asked Anthem for an explanation.
Meanwhile, Janet Stephens of Anaheim will get a 17 percent rate hike next month.
"I've been told by an insurance agent, that I'm not insurable with any other company," Stephens said. "So, it's either take it or leave it. I pay their outrageous rates, or I have no insurance."
Anthem says it's losing money with policies like the one Stephens has.
Anthem's parent company, WellPoint, made nearly $3 billion in profits last year.