California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Anthem Blue Cross To Hike Premium Rates for Individual Policyholders

Anthem Blue Cross of California is moving to raise premiums by a large margin for members who purchase health insurance policies on the individual market, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The insurer has informed many of its approximately 800,000 individual policyholders that premiums will increase on March 1. Anthem also informed members that it might start adjusting premiums more often than once per year.

Brokers who sell Anthem policies say some members have reported premium increases of as much as 39%.

Although Aetna, Blue Shield of California and other insurers have raised premiums in recent years, brokers say the Anthem hikes are the largest rate increases they have seen.

Anthem has declined to state by how much it is increasing rates.

State Investigation

In response to Anthem's reported rate hikes, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) called for a state review of the insurer's practices.

Poizner directed the state Department of Insurance to investigate Anthem's rate increases and evaluate whether the company is spending at least 70% of premiums on medical care, as required under state law (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 2/4). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.