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A Break For Some On Insurance Rates

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Sacramento, CA — 630,000 policyholders in California will see a reduced rate increase from Anthem Blue Cross thanks to a review by the state’s Insurance Department. The state’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says Anthem has voluntarily agreed to reduce its premium increase for the individual market after his department conducted a review. The move will save policyholders $54 million.

The 17.93 percent average rate increase was effective February 1, but is being lowered to 13.87 percent on average for Anthem’s health insurance sold to individuals and families.

The rate increases for these Anthem Blue Cross PPO’s include consumers who purchase their own coverage, not those coverage by their employer. The Commissioner’s Office says even with this decrease, policyholders will still have seen an average 22 percent rate increase over the past 12 months. That’s because this latest rate increase is in addition to other rate hikes started in May or July of 2012.

Commissioner Jones says, “Health insurance premiums continue to increase substantially and health insurance has become unaffordable for far too many Californians. Our department reviews information submitted by health insurers about their proposed rate increases, but we do not have the authority to reject excessive rate increases.” He added,”The department thoroughly reviewed the rate filing and then I asked Anthem Blue Cross to lower their rates. I appreciate that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to lower these rates so policyholders will pay $54 million less than they otherwise would have.”

Commissioner Jones has pushed legislation which would have given the insurance commissioner the authority to reject excessive rate increases and limited health insurance carriers to one rate increase per year. It has passed the State Assembly, but failed in the State Senate.