Aetna, Anthem, PacifiCare asked to delay rate hikes

After asking Blue Shield of California last week to delay its proposed rate hike of as much as 59 percent, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones notified Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare that they should postpone their own pending increases.

In letters to each insurer, Jones said he was "very concerned about the impact of the premium increases that health insurers are proposing, increases that I have not had the opportunity to review," according to the Sacramento Bee.

This year, Anthem's rate hikes scheduled to take effect April 1 will average almost 10 percent for individual policyholders. Aetna plans to increase rates an average of 20 percent for some of its individual businesses. PacifiCare planned to raise premiums 2 to 9 percent as of Jan. 1, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Under California law, the commissioner does not have authority to reject what he views as "excessive" premium increases. However, by asking the insurers to delay implementing their plans, Jones hopes to have more time to review the proposed increases, reports the San Francisco Business Times.

"The request I have made for additional time from these insurers is one that I believe to be both fair and reasonable. I hope they will comply," Jones said.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times article
- check out the San Francisco Business Times story
- see the Sacramento Bee piece

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