Anthem Blue Cross aims for rate increase of an average 18%
California’s Anthem Blue Cross, the state’s largest for-profit health insurance company, is looking to raise rates on individual policies by an average of 18%. The rate increase proposal has put the insurer at odds with state insurance regulators once again. Anthem Blue Cross has proposed rate increases regularly in the hopes of addressing issues it considers to be important, including the rising cost of medical care. Regulators have renewed their scrutiny of the health insurance company to determine whether higher rates are necessary.
Some consumers could see rates grow well beyond the average
The rate proposal from Anthem Blue Cross could affect more than 630,000 individual policyholders throughout the state. Though the average increase policyholders will see is set at 18%, many consumers are expected to see their rates rise by as much as 25%, if the proposal is approved by the California Department of Insurance. Some consumers will see increases far less than the average, but these consumers are currently expected to be in the minority.
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Medical inflation at historic lows
Regulators have taken issue with the latest rate increase proposal from Anthem Blue Cross because it comes at a time when medical inflation has hit historic lows throughout the country. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has said that the insurer can expect to receive a thorough investigation of its rate proposal and regulators are not likely to consider the cost of medical care as justification enough for higher rates. The Commissioner also notes that consumers have expressed their dismay over the rate increase proposal because it could present a great deal of financial pressure to individual policyholders.
Regulators to investigate rate proposals next month
Anthem Blue Cross is not alone in seeking higher rates for health insurance coverage in California. The insurer is joined by Aetna and Health Net Inc., both of whom are also seeking approval to increase the rates on health insurance coverage. California regulators will be reviewing these proposals next month to determine whether they are necessary. Regulators do not, however, have the authority to reject the proposals, even if they are found excessive. This authority remains with state lawmakers.