Consumer Watchdog Files Suit Against Anthem Blue Cross
On Monday, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog filed a lawsuit in Ventura County Superior Court accusing Anthem Blue Cross of California of violating state law by closing certain health insurance policies to new members while failing to offer comparable coverage alternatives to remaining enrollees, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The suit is seeking class-action status (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 3/2).
In the suit, the plaintiffs accuse Anthem of violating a 1993 state law that requires insurers to offer comparable alternative policies or minimize premium increases for enrollees in closed health plans (Gorman, Reuters, 3/1).Â
The suit alleges that Anthem's actions forced older and sicker policyholders to switch into plans that had higher premiums, higher deductibles, fewer benefits or a combination of those traits (Tayefe Mohajer, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 3/1).
Anthem officials said they had not reviewed the lawsuit and could not comment on the case (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 3/1).The insurer already is under state and federal scrutiny after it informed about 800,000 individual policyholders that their premiums would increase by as much as 39%. Anthem has said it will delay the scheduled rate hikes until May 1 (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2). 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.