Lawmakers Continue To Pressure WellPoint Over Rate Hikes, Rescissions
Lawmakers are continuing to attack health insurer WellPoint over proposed premium hikes and allegations that the company improperly rescinded some members' insurance policies, the Los Angeles Times reports.
During his weekly address this weekend, President Obama criticized the health insurance industry, saying it "jacks up premiums and drops coverage" as it pleases.
He referred to one insurer that was "systematically dropping the coverage of women diagnosed with breast cancer." Although the president did not mention WellPoint by name, the insurance company was accused of such tactics last month.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has called for new congressional hearings to examine rate calculation errors uncovered in an audit of WellPoint subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross of California.
On Sunday, WellPoint CEO Angela Braly sent a letter to Obama in response to his remarks during the address.
Braly wrote, "If we are going to make this law work on behalf of all Americans, the attacks on the health insurance industry -- an industry that provides valued coverage for more than 200 million Americans -- must end."
In response to the rate filing issues, Braly said WellPoint will have outside experts review all of its 2010 rate filings in the 14 states where it operates.
In addition, Braly noted that Axene Health Partners -- the consultant that originally identified the calculation problems in California -- will help the insurer resubmit its rates this month (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 5/10).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.