KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

WellPoint Cancels Investor Meeting To Prepare For Congressional Hearing On Premium Hikes

WellPoint, the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross, has canceled an investor meeting "so that executives can prepare for a congressional hearing on the company's large rate hikes in California," the Los Angeles Times reports. "A subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has called WellPoint Inc. Chief Executive Angela F. Braly to testify Feb. 24 about planned premium increases of as much as 39% for many of Anthem's 800,000 individual policyholders in California." WellPoint has since delayed the planned hikes for two months, until May 1, amid criticisms. "The company had set the investor meeting for Tuesday, the day before the congressional hearing." Instead, "WellPoint said it would speak with investors in a March 17 conference call" (Helfand, 2/16). 

Indianapolis Star: "Indiana lawmakers are expected to turn up the heat on regulators and WellPoint" on Wednesday. The acting Indiana insurance commissioner and "a representative from Anthem are scheduled to appear this morning before the House Insurance Committee to talk about premiums. … Committee Chairman Craig Fry, D-Mishawaka, has criticized rate increases on Anthem individual plans. Last week, he said it's time to re-examine the authority and role of the Indiana Department of Insurance when it comes to keeping watch over a large health insurer such as WellPoint. ... The Indiana Department of Insurance has approved WellPoint rate increases that will take effect March 1" (Lee, 2/17).

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