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Health insurance rate hike planned for 150,000 Anthem Blue Cross subscribers in California Posted: April 14th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

At the request of California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Anthem Blue Cross pledged earlier this year to delay a planned $40 million health insurance hike until July 2011. However, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog has noted that 150,000 subscribers will see higher premium bills starting May 1, 2011.The discrepancy stems from the way in which different health plans are regulated by the state.

The 600,000 Anthem subscribers who have plans overseen by the California Department of Insurance will see a scaled-back rate increase in July. Meanwhile, 150,000 members have health insurance regulated by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). These individuals will not benefit from the delay previously announced by Anthem Blue Cross, according to a Los Angeles Times.

Health insurance hike questioned

According to Consumer Watchdog, Anthem members enrolled in DMHC supervised plans have already seen their health insurance rates increase 20 percent in the fall of 2010. The May 2011 increases will average 17 percent while some members may see rates jump 26 percent.

In response, the consumer group sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown urging his support of AB 52 which would give state regulators the ability to block health insurance rate increases that are deemed excessive. Consumer Watchdog also asked Governor Brown to merge all insurance regulatory functions into the Department of Insurance.