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Insurance Commissioner

January 8, 2013 | By Chad Terhune
California's insurance commissioner said an 11% rate increase for small businesses by Anthem Blue Cross is "unreasonable" because the company overstated its costs and improperly added fees related to the federal healthcare law. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones also said Anthem, a unit of industry giant WellPoint Inc., was reaping excessive profits in California. But under state law the commissioner has no authority to block the rate increase from taking effect this month. "This is a huge loophole in California law and in the federal Affordable Care Act," Jones said.
January 8, 2013 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
California's insurance commissioner scolded Anthem Blue Cross for raising rates for small businesses while praising industry rival UnitedHealth Group Inc. for cutting worker premiums. Escalating his campaign against rising health insurance rates, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Anthem's premium hike for companies with 50 or fewer workers, which he pegged at 11%, was "unreasonable" because the company overstated its projected medical costs and improperly added fees related to the federal healthcare law. But state regulators have no authority to block Anthem's rate increase from taking effect this month.
July 4, 2012 | By Chad Terhune, Los Angeles Times
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones denied Blue Shield of California's plan to close several of its health policies to new customers, saying it violated state rules designed to protect consumers from large rate increases. Regulators routinely scrutinize efforts by health insurers to stop enrollment on some policies because the pool of existing customers can face escalating premiums as policyholders get older and incur more medical claims, without healthier applicants to offset those costs.
April 26, 2012
Health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. reported an 8% drop in first-quarter profit, hurt by lower enrollment and rising costs. The nation's second-largest health insurer — after UnitedHealth Group Inc. — runs Anthem Blue Cross in California and plans in 13 other states. It reported net income of $856.5 million, or $2.53 a share, for the three months ended March 31, compared with net income of $926.6 million, or $2.44 a share, a year ago. Revenue grew 4% to $15.42 billion in the quarter.
April 6, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO — Aetna, the state's third-largest health insurance company, is raising rates for thousands of small-business customers to a level that state insurance regulators call "excessive. " California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Thursday criticized Aetna Life Insurance Co. of Hartford, Conn., for raising health insurance group rates by an average of 8% a year for about 77,000 employees of small companies. The rate increases, which took effect April 1, were as high as 21% in some cases, Jones said.
May 24, 2011 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
California officials, setting their sights on life insurance companies, want to know whether executives are boosting profits by delaying or failing to pay death benefits quickly enough to heirs or to search aggressively for the beneficiaries. Unpaid life insurance benefits nationwide exceed $1 billion, according to the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners. It's not known how much of that involves California policies. "I am concerned that the insurance industry is not holding up its end of the sacred bargain it stuck with its clients when it issued life insurance policies in the first place," state Controller John Chiang said at a hearing Monday.
May 2, 2011 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Auto and homeowner insurance premiums have been regulated by the state of California for two decades. Maybe it's time that healthcare premiums are too. Insurance companies inadvertently have been making that case against themselves recently by announcing staggering double-digit rate increases, then backing off in the face of government scrutiny and public outrage. Aetna Inc. and Anthem Blue Cross scaled back planned premium hikes, and Blue Shield of California canceled one altogether after new state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones denounced the increases as excessive.
April 28, 2011 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
A third major California health insurer has agreed to scale back insurance rate hikes this year for thousands of customers after postponing the increases for 60 days at the request of the state's insurance commissioner. Health insurance rates for 65,000 Californians with individual policies from Aetna Inc. will rise an average of 12.2%, beginning July 1. The increases were trimmed back from an average of 17.9% after Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones raised concerns. The reduction will save Aetna policyholders $6.7 million in premiums, a company spokeswoman said.
March 16, 2011 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
A second California insurance regulator has announced plans to investigate insurer Health Net Inc. for losing computer records that contain Social Security numbers and other personal information of nearly 2 million current and former policyholders. State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Tuesday that he would conduct a probe to determine whether the Woodland Hills company "did everything it could have done to avoid and appropriately remedy this security breakdown. " The California Department of Managed Health Care already is investigating the security breach, in which nine computer drives were found to be missing.
March 1, 2011 | By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
Blue Shield of California, assailed by consumers and state regulators for seeking to hike insurance rates as much as 59% in recent months, declared after a review that its proposed rates are reasonable. A consultant hired by the nonprofit insurer to examine its filing for March 1 determined that the pending rate hikes ? averaging 6.5% and reaching as high as 18% ? are not excessive in light of fast-rising healthcare costs. The rate increases for nearly 200,000 individual policyholders are on hold for 60 days while state regulators examine them.
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