KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Anthem Blue Cross Of California Raises Rates As Much As 39 Percent

Los Angeles Times: "California's largest for-profit health insurer is moving to dramatically raise rates for customers with individual policies, setting off a furor among policyholders and prompting state insurance regulators to investigate. Anthem Blue Cross is telling many of its approximately 800,000 customers who buy individual coverage -- people not covered by group rates" that the increase will kick in March 1 "and may be adjusted 'more frequently' than its typical yearly increases." About 2.1 million Californians are covered by individual insurance policies, while 21 million are covered by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).

"The size of the individual rate increases prompted state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner recently to call for a review of Anthem's charges. ... Anthem is not the only health insurer imposing double-digit rate increases." Blue Shield of California and Aetna also have upped premiums in recent years. But insurance brokers said "the impending Anthem increases are the largest they have seen" (Helfand, 2/4).

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