California Officials Postpone Hearing on Blue Cross Complaints
Department of Managed Health Care officials on Monday postponed a public hearing scheduled for this week to determine whether Blue Cross of California has violated terms of a 2004 agreement that the insurer and its parent company, WellPoint, made with the state, the Los Angeles Times reports (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 7/17).
The agreement laid out conditions of the state's approval of WellPoint's merger with Anthem, an Indianapolis-based insurer (California Healthline, 7/11).
The meeting was postponed after WellPoint requested a more detailed agenda. The hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 7.
Shannon Troughton, WellPoint spokesperson, said the original notice and agenda for the meeting were not detailed enough to satisfy open-meeting laws, which would allow the company to fully address issues brought forward and allow public participation.
DMHC officials say they have received more than 1,600 complaints from policyholders, physicians and hospitals about Blue Cross since the 2004 acquisition.
DMHC Director Cindy Ehnes said the hearing also seeks to gather more information on about 1,200 complaints from physicians, mostly regarding pay disputes (Los Angeles Times, 7/17).