Archive for the ‘Private Insurance Industry’ Category

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.

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!

Wendell Potter comes to California!

Posted on December 8th, 2010 by HCAN California in Private Insurance Industry

HCAN-CA’s lead state partner, Health Access California, invites you to a conversation with Wendell Potter about his work and new book, Deadly Spin.

Wendell Potter, former Vice President of Communications at CIGNA, made national headlines last year when he testified before a Senate panel, disclosing how profit-driven insurance companies engage in practices forcing millions of Americans into underinsured or uninsured status.

Since then he has worked tirelessly as an outspoken critic of corporate PR and the distortion and fear manufactured by the wealthy health insurance industry. It is a PR juggernaut that is bankrolled by millions of dollars, rivaling lobbying budgets and underwriting many “non-partisan” and “grassroots” organizations. His new book, Deadly Spin, is not just an expose of health insurers but a stark warning that corporate spin is distorting our democracy.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to hear from Wendell Potter as he discloses the inner-workings of the wealthy insurance industry and its shameless PR practices.

Learn more about Wendell and Deadly Spin at www.wendellpotter.com.

Thursday, Dec 9
7 PM
City Lights Booksellers
261 Columbus Ave

Friday, Dec 10
7 PM
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera

Monday, Dec 13
7:30 PM
7812 Girard Ave

Tuesday, Dec 14
12 PM
California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities
1000 N. Alameda St
Conversation with Kathlyn Mead of the California Endowment will be immediately followed by a reception and book signing.
RSVP: http://tcenews.calendow.org/cmp.aspx?c=263420O1247O93O1000O2849

Tuesday, Dec 14
7 PM
All Saints Episcopal Church
132 N. Euclid Avenue, Pasadena

Anthem Blue Cross withdraws rate hikes, for now..

Posted on April 30th, 2010 by HCAN California in Private Insurance Industry

By Anthony Wright | Health Access WeBlog

California consumers got some relief today. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that Anthem Blue Cross of California has withdrawn their rate filings, after a review of an independent actuary has revealed various problems, including arithmetic errors and double-counting.

The rate hikes of up to 39% were controversial, the subject of a white-hot presidential spotlight during the health reform debate.

It’s great that California ratepayers got a reprieve from outrageous rate hikes by Anthem Blue Cross of California.

But more than rate relief, this withdrawal of the rate hike proposals show why we need regulators to have active oversight over the insurance industry. This review was done under existing law, which provided very limited authority, and it was still able to find basic problems in arithmetic and double-counting.

Oversight and regulation matter. This shows why more extensive oversight is needed, some of which is in the federal health reform that passed, and additional rate review proposals that are pending at both the state and federal levels.

Federal health reform (and pending state implementation) would create health insurance exchanges, where people buying coverage as individuals could join and benefit from group purchasing to negotiate for better prices and value. There are also pending proposals at both the state and federal levels to have rate review and approval authority, especially in the period before 2014 when the exchange come into full effect.
* At the federal level, California Senator Feinstein has a proposal to regulate rates at the federal level, especially for states that don’t have a rate review process.
* California is one of those states that does not have rate review, but there are pending bills. Assemblyman Dave Jones has a rate approval bill, AB2578. State Senator Mark Leno has a bill for insurers to disclose their rate methodology, SB1163.

We need these continued reforms, so when Anthem Blue Cross resubmits rate hike proposals, there’s a process to properly review them.

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