Calif. Attorney General Issues Subpoenas for 7 State Insurers
On Thursday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) subpoenaed financial records and other documents from the state's top seven health insurers as part of an investigation into whether they are unfairly raising health care premiums, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports (Hindery, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 2/26).
Brown subpoenaed information from:
- Anthem Blue Cross of California;
- Blue Shield of California;
- Kaiser Permanente; and
- PacifiCare (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 2/25).
The subpoenas cover fee-for-service health plans. In January, the insurers received subpoenas regarding their managed care plans, Brown said.
Brown's investigation will examine:
- Complaints against insurers involving claims denials, payment delays or reductions and responses to complaints;
- How insurers determine hospital and physician rankings and whether those rankings misinform consumers;
- Possible violations of California's unfair competition and false advertising laws;
- Whether health plans have proposed premium hikes and whetherÂ insurers followed disclosure rules for those increases; and
- Whether insurers offer alternative plans when increasing premiums and whether they deny enrollment into those plans based on pre-existing conditions (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 2/25).
The health plans will have 30 days to turn over the requested documents (Gorman, Reuters, 2/25).
Assembly Subpoenas Anthem
On Thursday, the Assembly Rules Committee voted to subpoena information from Anthem Blue Cross on its proposed premium hikes of up to 39% for 800,000 individual policyholders in California.
TheÂ committee also is seeking information on Anthem's compensation for its top 10 executives (Helfand/Lifsher, Los Angeles Times, 2/25).The committee voted 6-4 along party lines to authorize the subpoena, with Republicans voting against the action. The Assembly will delay delivery of the subpoena for two weeks to provide AnthemÂ time to voluntarily hand over the information (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 2/26). 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.