Anthem's rate appeal dismissed by state supreme court

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has thrown out Anthem Health Plan of Maine's appeal of the state's decision to limit its 2009 rate increase for individual policies to 10.9 percent, reports Mainebiz.

In a 5-2 ruling, Maine's highest court dismissed the appeal as moot because the year in which the challenged rates were effective has passed and new rates have gone into effect, according to the Associated Press.

Anthem previously requested an 18.1 percent increase for individual policies for 2009, but Maine Insurance Superintendent Mila Kofman rejected that increase, instead limiting it to 10.9 percent. The company appealed that decision to the Maine Superior Court, which last May affirmed Kofman's decision, leading Anthem to bring its appeal to the Supreme Court. Anthem argued the state's rate would leave it with a profit margin of zero.

In a dissenting opinion, two justices argued the process should continue in order to address the recurring dispute between Anthem and the state over rate hikes. For example, last year, the state granted Anthem a 14 percent increase, instead of the 23 percent it requested. Maine's Bureau of Insurance is still considering the insurer's 10 percent increase for 2011 rates, which would go into effect in July, Mainebiz notes.

To learn more:
- read the Mainebiz story
- see the Associated Press article