State Officials Preparing for Blue Cross Hearing
California regulators are closely examining Blue Cross of California's business practices to determine whether the insurer is meeting provisions of a 2004 agreement made with the state along with its parent company, WellPoint, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The agreement outlined conditions of the state's approval of WellPoint's merger with Anthem, an Indianapolis-based insurer (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 7/18).
Department of Managed Health Care officials say they have received more than 1,600 complaints from policyholders, physicians and hospitals about Blue Cross since the 2004 acquisition (California Healthline, 7/17).
The complaints include claims handling, rising premiums and physician reimbursements.
Nick Garcia, Blue Cross spokesperson, said, "We take the commitments ... very seriously and have an extensive internal process to ensure compliance."
DMHC on Aug. 7 is scheduled to examine the complaints (Sacramento Bee, 7/18).
DMHC Director Cindy Ehnes said the hearing also seeks to gather more information on about 1,200 complaints from physicians, mostly regarding pay disputes (California Healthline, 7/17).