WellPoint lowers rate hikes in response to public pressure

Posted April 2, 2012

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Following pushback from state officials, Anthem Blue Cross of California, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint, has reduced planned premium increases for its members with individual coverage.

The rate increases submitted Nov. 30, 2011, originally averaged 10.4% and now will average 8.2%, with a maximum 19.9% increase rather than the originally requested increase with a maximum of 29.9%. The new rates will take effect May 1 for plans that cover about 205,000 people.

The original planned increases accounted for newly mandated maternity coverage, among other things. In its revised filing, Anthem said it will absorb some of the anticipated cost increases.

“In modifying our rate filings, we were sensitive to the challenges increasing health care cost places on our individual members,” Anthem spokesman Darrel Ng said in a statement.

Ng said the company’s decision will have no effect on the rates it pays California physicians, and that California is one of the markets where WellPoint plans to increase its payments to primary care physicians who agree to adopt patient-centered care principles.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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