If your health insurance coverage is with Anthem Blue Cross or Blue Shield, then you may want to pay attention to this news story. California state regulators have accepted rate hikes on individual Anthem Blue Cross health insurance policies. The California Department of Insurance said Wednesday it approved a rate increase averaging about 14 percent for Anthem Blue Cross customers. The department also approved a nearly 19 percent increase for Blue Shield of California.
Anthem, California’s largest for-profit insurer, had previously requested a boost that would have raised rates as much as 39 percent for some customers, with average increases of about 25 percent. However, state regulators found accounting errors in the proposal and Anthem retracted the filing, which would have affected about 700,000 individual policies regulated by the commissioner.
Anthem spokeswoman Kristin Binns said in a written statement the company “is pleased that the department has posed no objections to our individual rate filings and we look forward to continuing to serve consumers in California.”
Nonprofit insurer Blue Shield of California’s rate hike will affect more than 247,000 policyholders.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner instituted independent reviews of the top four insurers in the state in June to help keep the companies in line with California law mandating 70 percent of income be used for medical treatment of policyholders. The rate hikes by Anthem and Blue Shield underwent independent reviews that were released Wednesday and found the two major insurers to be in compliance with the law.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access, a nonprofit advocacy group for consumers, said state regulators need better control over the rate hike approval process. Two bills currently being considered by the Legislature – AB2578 and SB1163 – would strengthen the authority of insurance regulators, he said.
Providers must give 30 days notice to policyholders before increasing rates.
Please be aware, that rate hikes alone should not affect the coverage of your insurance plan. Dr. Brenner’s insurance authorization team is very experienced at working with most PPO insurance company plans to help maximize your insurance benefits when they apply to medially-indicated plastic surgery procedures. Click here to contact us and learn how to maximize your plan.