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Anthem Blue Cross Raises Rates Again

Audio

Aired 3/3/11

Anthem Blue Cross is warning individual policy holders in California to prepare for another rate increase. Some consumers will have to pay 40 percent more for their health insurance than they did last year.

Anthem Blue Cross is warning individual policy holders in California to prepare for another rate increase. Some consumers will have to pay 40 percent more for their health insurance than they did last year.

Anthem Blue Cross' parent company, WellPoint, made nearly $3 billion in profit in 2010.

It isn't the only insurer that's raising rates. Individual policy holders with Blue Shield and Aetna will also face higher premiums on May 1st.

Insurance companies say rising health care costs are forcing them to increase rates. But Doug Heller, with the non-profit group Consumer Watchdog, said that's a lie.

"Medical inflation has only been rising in the single digits for the last couple of years," Heller said, "yet these companies are coming back to us with 20 percent after 20 percent rate hikes. Insurance company greed is driving up these health insurance premiums."

The federal government reports a health care inflation rate of 3 percent. There's little state regulators can do to stop the premium increases.

A bill in the California Assembly would allow state regulators to block rate hikes considered to be excessive. Previous attempts at passing the measure failed.

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