August 10, 2011 |
Californians who bemoan high insurance premiums may not have it as bad as they think. It turns out that people in other states pay a lot more for health coverage. A new analysis of individual insurance markets across the country shows that Californians paid $157 a month on average for coverage in 2010. Nationally, individual policyholders paid an average of $215 a month, according to the study by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. The least expensive state was Alabama.
July 28, 2011 |
Health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. said its profit fell 3% in the second quarter partly because of higher-than-expected medical costs for seniors, particularly in Northern California. The nation's second-largest insurer by membership said it earned $701.6 million in the three months that ended June 30, down from $722.4 million a year earlier. The Indianapolis company said medical claims climbed 8.5% in the second quarter, to $11.92 billion, driven by significant expenses for seniors.
June 21, 2011 |
Settling a class-action lawsuit, California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to limit rate increases for 122,000 policyholders whose plans have been closed to new customers. Affected policyholders for the first time would also be able to switch plans without having their medical histories reviewed. Consumer groups had accused the state's largest for-profit health insurer of closing some insurance plans to new members and then forcing existing customers into a financial "death spiral" by dramatically raising rates without offering comparable options as required by state law. Anthem policyholders and healthcare advocates said the practice often trapped older customers or those with preexisting health conditions in policies they could not afford but also could not leave.
June 7, 2011 |
Most businesses are eager to have people pay their monthly bills with automatic credit card payments. There's a good reason: Businesses know they will get paid on a regular basis. So why is health insurance heavyweight Anthem Blue Cross telling members it will no longer allow them to do this — at least not without a hefty fee? Tom Harris of West Los Angeles has been insured by Anthem for about 40 years. He's paid his bills automatically from his credit card account for as long as he can remember.
May 26, 2011 |
For the first time, California's largest nonprofit health insurer has released the salaries of its 10 highest-paid executives in response to a new state law intended to keep healthcare insurance costs under control. The top earner at Blue Shield of California was Chief Executive Bruce Bodaken, who made $4.6 million last year — more than four times the salary of his counterpart at the state's largest for-profit insurer, Anthem Blue Cross. San Francisco-based Blue Shield revealed Bodaken's salary in documents filed with the state's insurance commissioner, who had demanded the information under the law that allows regulators to examine executive salaries and other criteria to determine whether insurance rate increases are "unreasonable.
April 30, 2011 |
A California regulator for the first time has declared a health insurance rate increase "unreasonable" but acknowledged that it can do nothing to stop the state's largest for-profit insurer from going ahead with it. As a result, rates for 120,000 customers of Anthem Blue Cross will begin rising an average of 16% on Sunday, infuriating policyholders and frustrating officials at the California Department of Managed Health Care. The state regulator said Woodland Hills-based Anthem refused its request to match a break in insurance rates that the insurer is giving to about 600,000 other customers whose individual policies are handled by a different regulator, the California insurance commissioner.
April 19, 2011 |
Stuart and Cathy Selter of Agoura Hills were satisfied with their Anthem Blue Cross health insurance plan, which cost them about $1,500 a month in premiums and had a $2,500 deductible. Now, they say, Anthem is moving the goal posts for their coverage. The insurer informed them recently that because it's no longer selling their plan, the risk pool is shrinking and their premiums will rise. Anthem didn't specify how much the Selters' rates could increase. But if fewer people are sharing the risk of an insurance plan, costs could rise dramatically.
April 8, 2011 |
Nearly 151,000 Anthem Blue Cross individual policyholders face rate hikes of as much as 26% on May 1, even though far more Anthem individual customers are getting a break this year. The difference is a result of California's two-headed health insurance bureaucracy. About 600,000 people with Anthem policies under the supervision of state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will see smaller-than-expected increases July 1. Anthem agreed to cut those rate hikes to 9.1% on average, from 16.4%, amid pressure from Jones and consumers.
March 21, 2011 |
California health insurer Anthem Blue Cross, scaling back rate increases for the second time in less than a year, has agreed to cut nearly in half average increases for more than 500,000 individual policyholders. State officials said California's largest for-profit health insurer would reduce average July 1 increases to 9.1% from 16.4%. Anthem said it also would put on hold until January plans to hike policyholders' deductibles and co-pays for medical services at the same time. Anthem in January had postponed its insurance rate increase for 60 days while California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones examined its filings.