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Insurance Commissioner Says Anthem Rate Increase Unreasonable

Jan 9, 2013

Anthem Blue Cross of California is proposing an increase in health insurance rates for small employers. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the state’s Insurance Commissioner says the increase is unreasonable.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says the rate increase proposed by Anthem Blue Cross would amount to 10.6 percent a year and ultimately affect more than a quarter of a million Californians. But Anthem’s Darrell Ng says it amounts to a 7.5 percent increase and would initially affect 52,000 members.

“We are just trying to keep up with the increases in cost and the increases in the amount of medical services people are using,” says Jones.

Jones says the Department’s actuaries dispute that, but as Insurance Commissioner, he can’t do anything about it.

“So here today, we are facing yet another increase by yet another health insurer or HMO in California with no way to protect policy holders from the financial impacts of these steep rate hikes because the Insurance Commissioner lack this authority,” says Jones.

Jones is backing a 2014 ballot measure that would give the Insurance Commissioner authority to approve or reject rate increases.