Rate hikes withdrawn!

Great news to insurance holders of Anthem Blue Cross!

In February, I blogged about Anthem's request to raise their rates (to read, click here and here), but now, they have decided to withdraw their proposed rate hikes of up to 39%. According to Los Angeles Times reports, state regulators said the plan was "seriously flawed" with numerous errors in its rate filings. Anthem is still planning to propose new rate hikes in May, but they declined to comment when and how much. But it looks like for now, insurance holders have won!

To read the full report, click here.

Good insurance news - for now

A moment of reprieve for Anthem Blue Cross insurance holders here in California. The State Insurance Commissioner has been able to secure a delay in the spike of premium increases until May 1st. This will allow outside health-insurance actuarial experts to investigate whether Anthem has violated any California law with its implementation of increases rates.

Let's hope the Commission can come to a long term agreement based on this analysis to minimize future insurance rate increases.

39% insurance premium increase

Several news agencies have written about premium increases being placed on policyholders of Anthem Blue Cross here in California. The purported increase can be as high as 39% for some holders, even with Blue Cross' parent company, Well Point, seeing profits soaring at $2.7 billion just in the last quarter of 2009. Nonetheless, the company is citing increases in health care costs as their reason for rate increases. (An ironic note made by my colleage Dr. Kevin McNamee: Even with all these profits, Blue Cross has paid the same out of network rates to healthcare providers since the 1990s.)

Unfortunately, there's not much we as insurance holders can do, because it was Congress who in the early 1990s allowed health insurance providers to become For Profit. So even though the Obama administration is looking into this, until Congress and the Senate require insurance providers to become not for profit, there's very little we policy holders can do about these insurance hikes.

I encourage you, especially if you are an Anthem Blue Cross member, to speak to your insurance broker to see if moving to a different insurance company would be a smarter choice. Also, speak to your Congressional representative and Senator to require insurance companies to become non-profit again. Power in numbers