California Regulators Convene Hearing on Blue Cross Complaints
Department of Managed Health Care officials on Tuesday will hold a public hearing 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 San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The agreement laid out conditions of the state's approval of WellPoint's merger with Anthem, an Indianapolis-based insurer.
DMHC officials say they have received more than 1,600 complaints against Blue Cross since 2004. The complaints address issues including premium increases and canceled policies.
State officials also seek to investigate 1,200 complaints from physicians, mostly regarding payment and contract disputes.
The hearing also will address a $950 million dividend that Blue Cross sent to WellPoint earlier this year. DMHC officials are investigating whether the payment violated terms of the agreement, which governs how much money the insurer can transfer out of state until November.
Brian Sassi, president of Blue Cross, said the agreement governing the transfer of money expired last year, not this year. He maintains that Blue Cross is complying with all provisions of its agreement with the state (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/7).