Anthem Blue Cross gets OK for lower rate hikes

WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross got the go-ahead from California insurance regulators to raise rates an average of 14 percent--and as high as 20 percent for individual health policies--starting Oct. 1, Reuters reports.

After Anthem Blue Cross was shot down in February for asking for rate hikes that would have averaged 25 percent--and gone as high as 39 percent--for 600,000 policyholders, the insurer drew the ire of federal officials and lawmakers who pointed to it as a prime example of why healthcare costs were skyrocketing. After a consultant for the state's regulators found math errors in the payer's filing, Anthem was sent back to the drawing board.

This time around, the regulators approved the hikes because at least 70 percent of premiums will go toward payment for medical care, NPR reports. The six-month delay saved policyholders $184 million, state regulators said. Anthem claimed the amount saved was $150 million.

Blue Shield of California, one of Anthem's nonprofit competitors, was also allowed to hike rates at an average of 19 percent--and as high as 29 percent--for 250,000 policyholders.

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article
- see the NPR article
- here's the Los Angeles Times article

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