Aetna Withdraws Rate Hikes for Individual Policyholders in Calif.
The health insurer Aetna has withdrawn its request to raise premiums by an average of 19% for 65,000 individual policyholders in California after its staff and an independent consultant working for the state discovered math errors in the company's paperwork, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The decision follows a similar move by Anthem Blue Cross, which in April canceled its plans to raise premiums by much as 39% for individual policyholders afterÂ a state consultant identified calculation errors (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 6/25).
Aetna's Math Errors
According to an Aetna spokesperson, the company incorrectly calculated the annual cost of monthly premiums and wrongly compounded the increases over multiple years.
The company's premium increases originally were slated to take effect on July 1 (Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 6/25).
Anjanette Coplin, a spokesperson for Aetna, said the company notified the California Department of Insurance as soon as it uncovered the miscalculations. She added that the error would not affect California policyholders because the company had not yet enacted the rate hikes.
The company also said it plans to submit a revised rate filing.
Increased Oversight of Insurers
In response to the latest errors, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) said he would begin posting all future rate filings on the Department of Insurance website to allow for easier public review (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 6/25).
Poizner also has ordered independent reviews of all individual health insurance policy rate hikes sought by four of California's largest health insurers (Tayefe Mohajer, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 6/24).
In related news, the Senate Health Committee this week passed legislation (AB 2578), by Assembly member Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), that would authorize state regulators to reject excessive health insurance premium increases.
Jones is running as the Democratic nominee for state insurance commissioner (Sacramento Bee, 6/25).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.