HCAN!California

Anthem Blue Cross Reduces Rate Increase for Small Businesses

Posted on June 21st, 2011 by HCAN California in Private Insurance Industry

From Health Access Blog:

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that Anthem Blue Cross will be reducing a proposed quarterly premium increase from 6% to 3%. This will impact approximately 18,000 Californians.

Commissioner Jones was able to review the company’s rate increase proposal based on legislation that was passed last year (SB1163 Leno) that requires insurers to justify their increases.

While this increase may seem small, these small increases have been the straws breaking the camels’ backs for many small businesses struggling to survive the depressed economy and the triple digit health insurance premium increases they’ve endured over the past decade.

And while it is good news the Commissioner Jones has facilitated this roll back of the increase, it is also important to remember that history has shown that when left to decide whether to act in the interest of consumers or to act in the best interest of their own profits, they have chosen profits each time. Californians can not afford to let insurers decide when they will raise rates and by how much.

Read Commissioner Jones’ press release here.

Call the Assembly Appropriations Committee TODAY!

Posted on May 20th, 2011 by HCAN California in Action

Over the course of the last year, there have been numerous instances where private insurance companies have attempted to surreptitiously raise rates on consumers, including Anthem Blue Cross’ notorious attempt to raise rates by as much as 39% last year, and the recent attempt by Blue Shield to raise rates on individual policy holders for the third time since October.

One of our biggest priorities for improving upon the historic Affordable Care Act at the state-level is passing legislation that would strengthen regulation of the private insurance industry WHENEVER attempts are made to raise our rates in California.

AB 52, a bill introduced by Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), would go a long way in implementing and improving upon the federal health care law while also protecting consumers and businesses by empowering state regulators to REJECT excessive rate increases!

Please take a moment and call your Assemblymember in the Assembly Appropriations Committee TODAY and encourage them to VOTE YES on AB52!


Assemblyman Mike Gatto
District Office: (818) 558-3043

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2043

Assemblyman Ricardo Lara
District Office: (562) 927-1200

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2050

Assemblyman Isadore Hall
District Office: (310) 223-1201

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2052

Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes
District Office: (818) 504-3911

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2039

Assemblyman Mike Davis
District Office: (213) 744-2111

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2048

Assemblyman and Majority Leader Charles Calderon
District Office: (562) 692-5858

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2058

Assemblyman Jose Solorio
District Office: (714) 939-8469

Capitol Office: (916) 319-2069

Once you’ve made your call, let us know how it went!

Click here to send us a note with your feedback.

Make Your Favorite Mom(s) a Star on Mother’s Day!

Posted on May 6th, 2011 by HCAN California in Action

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, and this year - as well celebrate moms across the state - we also celebrate new provisions in the Affordable Care Act that ease the burden so many women face when it comes to their health care. Among these provisions is the elimination of lifetime limits on how much insurance companies cover when women get sick, banning insurance companies from dropping women’s coverage when they do get sick and prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to children with so-called “pre-existing conditions.”

Make your favorite Mom(s) a star this Mother’s Day!

With all the incredible things mothers do in the face of enormous challenges, being concerned about health care for themselves or their children should not be one of them. I’m sure you know a mom or two (or three!) who deserves to be celebrated.

Well, this year HCAN/Health Access California is partnering with MomsRising to make it possible for you to thank all the moms you know with a customizable video announcing them as the star of an upcoming movie, “World’s Greatest Mom.”

Each mom you send the video to will see her name appear as the inspiration throughout a faux movie trailer dramatizing the amazing work moms do every day.

Make your favorite Mom(s) a star this Mother’s Day!

And then after you watch the video, don’t forget to send it to all the moms in your life, because every mother deserves to be a star.

Have a great Mother’s Day!

Write a Letter to the Editor of Your Local Newspaper

Posted on May 5th, 2011 by HCAN California in California Implementation

Last Friday, Anthem Blue Cross stated they are going ahead with yet another unjustified rate hike on California consumers. This time around, Anthem proposed rate increases averaging 16% — which also includes higher deductibles and co-pays for an estimated 120,000 Californians…even after regulators at the California Department of Managed Care (DMHC) declared the rate hike “unreasonable.”

Anthem’s latest attempt to raise health care premiums is just another example of why California MUST pass critical consumer and small business protections like AB 52 (Feuer) - which would empower state regulators to REJECT excessive rate hikes!

In a recent editorial for the LA Times, columnist George Skelton made a powerful case for why California must pass this important consumer protection bill. Skelton’s editorial, which references Health Care America Now’s national work to protect consumers and expose big-insurance’s profits, highlights the growing need to check insurance industry abuses - including attempts to impose outrageous rate-hikes on to California consumers.

You can help take a stand up against insurance industry abuse and show your support by writing a letter to the editor of your local paper in support of AB 52 - legislation that would empower state regulators to REJECT excessive rate hikes. Click here to get started!

The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board has also endorsed AB52 - calling it an important measure to “combat the cycle of ever-increasing premiums” by making the health insurance market comparable to that of auto-insurance or homeowners insurance by giving regulators the opportunity to scrutinize attempts to raise rates unjustifiably.

Meanwhile, HCAN-CA’s lead state partner, Health Access California, continues to organize and advocate in the statewide effort to organize support for AB52, legislation that helps prevent insurance companies from going ahead with unfair or unjustified rate hikes that make health coverage financially out of reach for families and individuals.

Your voice matters! Click here to write a letter to the editor of your local paper and show your support for comprehensive consumer protections against outrageous insurance industry abuses!

The Affordable Care Act represented an important first step in controlling health care costs and reducing the worst insurance industry abuses. Now we have an opportunity to go EVEN FURTHER and take the next critical step in protecting consumers and businesses form outrageous rate hikes!

Make your own personal case for controlling outrageous rate hikes and voice your support for AB52! Click here to get started!

Get CONNECTED with HCAN-CA and Health Access

Posted on April 22nd, 2011 by HCAN California in Action

On Wednesday, over 100 people crammed an auditorium in Sacramento to be part of history: The California Health Benefits Exchange board met for the first time– the initial big step toward implementing the first ACA reform-prompted insurance exchange in the nation. “If we succeed, we will set the health care reform agenda for the rest of the nation,” board member Susan Kennedy said. “If we fail, we will precipitate the downfall of it nationally. And we are fully committed to seeing it succeed.”

Diana Dooley, Secretary of Health and Human Services in California, was elected interim chair of the exchange board. The work of the exchange, Dooley said, will go a long way toward healing the state’s fragmented health care system. “Right now, we don’t have a health care system in California. We have a lot of pieces of a health care system. What we have now is an illness-treatment system, and what we need is a health system.” Health Access was at this historic meeting both live tweeting the proceedings and as the first and most frequent commentator! Did you miss our live reports via Twitter?

Twitter  LogoFollow us on Twitter!

FacebookLike us on Facebook!

For nearly three years now, we’ve been working together to bring affordable, quality health care to California. Throughout this time, you’ve received countless e-mails from HCAN-California and our lead state partner, Health Access California, about what has been happening and how to get involved — but did you know you can also connect with us online for the most up to date information?

In the coming weeks and months, we will be covering state implementation bills in Sacramento such as AB 52, which would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to any attempt to raise health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles and anti-consumer bills such as AB 736, which would amend the insurance code for the benefit of health insurance brokers and agents to the detriment of consumers. Other bills include maternity coverage, eligibility and enrollment and we’ll also be involved and reporting live at future exchange board meetings.

Influential social media tools like Facebook and Twitter will play a critical role in our continued work to implement and improve upon the Federal health care law here in California! They’re also a great way to connect with like-minded health care advocates like you, and will allow you to get real-time updates on actions and news from HCAN-CA and our lead state partner, Health Access.

Twitter  LogoFollow us on Twitter!

Facebook Like us on Facebook!

Not on Facebook or Twitter yet? No problem! Getting started is easy AND free!

Sign up and create a FREE account on Twitter & Facebook today!

Here’s how to create your free Facebook account:

  1. Go to www.facebook.com
  2. Fill in your information under the “sign-up” prompt
  3. Be sure to include a VALID e-mail address
  4. Click on “submit”
  5. Follow the prompts to get started on your profile
  6. Check your inbox for your confirmation e-mail

Here’s how to create your free Twitter account:

  1. Go to www.twitter.com
  2. Click the yellow “sign-up” button
  3. Fill in your information (including a VALID e-mail address)
  4. Click “Create my account”


Once you’ve signed up – be sure to connect with Health Access through Twitter and Facebook!

Social media tools like Facebook & Twitter offer a great way to stay in touch, easily share updates and alerts with friends and family, and take action all at the same time!

Our goal is to get 5,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter! Subscribe today and encourage the people in your networks to connected, too!

Follow us on Twitter to get live updates and urgent action alerts in 140 characters or less!

Like us on Facebook to get instant action alerts, updates and news from HCAN-CA and Health Access!

Share your story of outrageous rate hikes!

Posted on April 12th, 2011 by HCAN California in Private Insurance Industry

Last week, the Assembly Health Committee delayed the vote on AB 52 (key legislation that would empower state regulators to reject excessive health insurance rate increases) until later in the month.

That means there’s still time to share your story!

If you or your loved ones have ever been the victims of outrageous insurance company rate hikes, then tell us about it!

Click here to share your story and let us know how the rate hike impacted you and your family!

AB 52 would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to any attempt to raise health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles.  It would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process, thus empowering California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to put the brakes on attempts by the insurance industry to artificially raise the cost of our health care!

Passing this important consumer and business protection is absolutely critical to our efforts to stem insurance industry abuse as we continue to implement and improve upon the Federal health care law here in California!

Your story can help illustrate to legislators, members of the media, and the public at large just how important it is to protect consumers and small businesses from outrageous rate hikes.

Click here to share your story and let us know how the rate hike impacted you and your family!

Vote today on AB52

Posted on April 5th, 2011 by HCAN California in Implement & Improve

The California Assembly Committee on health is scheduled to vote today on AB52, legislation drafted by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) that would empower state regulators to reject excessive rate hikes on consumers and businesses from private health insurers.

Over the course of the last year, there have been numerous instances where private insurance companies have attempted to surreptitiously raise rates on consumers, including Anthem’s notorious attempt to raise rates by as much as 39% last year, and the recent attempt by Blue Shield to raise rates on individual policy holders for the third time since October.

AB 52 would require health plans and insurers to seek approval from state regulators prior to any attempt to raise health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles.  It would build upon newly-implemented federal and state law improving the health insurance rate filing and review process, thus empowering California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones to put the brakes on attempts by the insurance industry to artificially raise the cost of our health care!

In a letter released by Senator Diane Feinstein this week urging support for AB 52, the Senator stated, “Insurance companies are driven by the need to return profits to shareholders, and without proper regulatory oversight, will continue to raise rates and drop people from coverage to maximize their profits.  It is clear that California’s state regulators need the authority to reject excessive rate hikes.”

LIHP Training Call Tuesday March 29 at 7:00 PM

Posted on March 25th, 2011 by HCAN California in Implement & Improve

HCAN-California’s lead state partner Health Access California will be holding a second advocacy training call on the Low-Income Health Program (LIHP) on TUESDAY, March 29th at 7:00 PM!

This is a chance to learn more about this exciting program that will help expand coverage to uninsured Californians by expanding Medi-Cal eligibility to ALL California adults up to 133% of the Federal poverty level.  Even more, it’s an opportunity to take action and help this crucial program move forward!

We want to make sure all counties are hearing from advocates and activists about this important program. That’s why we need your help!

Join us on Tuesday, March 29th at 7:00 PM Pacific for the Low-Income Health Program (LIHP) advocacy training call!

Advocacy Call on Low-Income Health Program

TUESDAY, March 29 at 7:00 PM Pacific
Click here to RSVP
Please Note: You will receive a follow-up e-mail for Tuesday’s Advocacy Training Call once you’ve submitted your RSVP

Click here to read more about the LIHP from Health Access.

Senate Votes on GOP Repeal Bill

Posted on February 2nd, 2011 by HCAN California in Action

Believe it or not — Senate Republicans have tacked on an amendment to the aviation bill that would  repeal the entire Affordable Care Act. This is an outrage!

Thankfully, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have long been dedicated champions of health care reform — understanding the importance of what the new law means for countless Californians, and the absolute necessity of opposing efforts to “repeal and replace!”

Call Senators Boxer and Feinstein NOW and show your support for their continued commitment in defending the Federal health care law against Republican and corporate repeal-mongers!

This isn’t a theoretical debate or a symbolic vote. Senate Republicans are voting to take away real protections that are helping millions of people right now. If Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans are serious about repealing the Affordable Care Act, they should tell their constituents the truth about the cost-savings and consumer protections they want to take away.

Each of them should go door to door in their districts and tell thousands of seniors to cough up the $250 donut-hole checks they received from the new health care law to buy their prescription drugs; visit with parents of sick children who finally got coverage and tell them their insurance is now canceled; and meet with parents of young adults and let them know that they’ll have to drop their young adults from their health insurance!

Click here to call Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer NOW and thank them for their ongoing support for health care!

California Senators Boxer and Feinstein have showed they are true champions when it comes to our health care! Now we need to let them know that we appreciate their efforts in standing up against McConnell and the other Republicans who want to deny us our care and go back to the way things used to be!

Call Senators Boxer and Feinstein NOW and thank them for continuing to stand up for stronger, more affordable health care!

Lungren hears from group opposing vote

Posted on January 21st, 2011 by HCAN California in Fight Repeal

On Wednesday, in advance of the House of Representatives’ scheduled vote on the GOP-introduced “repeal bill” (HR2), constituents, activists and supporters of the Affordable Care and Protection Act organized press-conferences in Los Angeles and Sacramento to share their personal stories of how they and their loved ones have benefited already from important early provisions under the Federal health care law.

Check out the story below from the Stockton Record on Wednesday’s event in Sacramento:

By The Record

January 20, 2011 12:00 AM

The national health care debate spilled over Wednesday into the lobby of the Gold River office of Republican Rep. Dan Lungren.

Lungren’s chief of staff, Peter Tateishi, met with what he said were about 20 people who support the health care law and oppose repeal. “I was happy to hear their comments and concerns, and I’ve already relayed them to Congressman Lungren,” Tateishi said.

Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access America, was part of the group. Wright said his group estimates that 3,400 young adults in the 3rd Congressional District receive coverage thanks to the law.

The discussion did not change views on either side. Tateishi said he and Lungren believe the law must be repealed to reduce the burden on businesses and to find a way to solve the health care crisis without mandates. Lungren is the author of a bill that would repeal a section of the law that requires businesses to report for tax purposes virtually any purchase.

Lungren joined Republicans in a 245-189 party-line vote to repeal the legislation.

Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, voted against the repeal.

McNerney spoke on the House floor before the vote. “The law will drive down the cost of health care by encouraging and incentivizing quality care and good outcomes,” McNerney said.

In a written statement, Cardoza said, “Repealing health-care reform would mean sick children could be denied coverage by health insurance companies.”