13.5% rate hike for Calif. health plan

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 6, 2010

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WellPoint-owned Anthem Blue Cross of California will raise rates by an average of 13.5% for about 700,000 individual subscribers. The new rates will take effect in October.

Consultants for the California Dept. of Insurance found that the rate increase, revised from an earlier request to raise premiums by an average of 25%, complied with state regulations that require health insurers to set rates targeting a medical-loss ratio of at least 70%.

The state insurance department does not have authority to reject or approve rates in the individual market but reviewed Anthem's initial request to ensure that it complied with the medical-loss ratio requirement. When the original application was found to contain errors, Anthem revised its request.

Aetna's most recent rate increase request also contained mathematical errors and was revised.

Negative reaction to Anthem's earlier rate hike announcement was widely credited with providing a push to pass health system reform.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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