Commissioner Poizner Releases Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield Rate Filings

Dedicated Web Page to Host All Individual Health Insurance Filings

For Release: June 30, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner followed through on a commitment made last week and publically released the rate filings made by Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

"Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross and Aetna's filings will be analyzed by our actuaries with a fine tooth comb," said Commissioner Poizner. "This process, which has already caused two rate fillings to be withdrawn due to the discovery of significant math errors, will protect consumers by ensuring that insurers spend 70 percent of premiums on medical benefits, as required by state law."

Blue Shield filed for an average 18 percent rate hike for its 240,000 policyholders earlier this year.

Anthem Blue Cross filed today for an average 14 percent rate hike, affecting 700,000 policyholders. Anthem Blue Cross had previously filed for an average 25 percent rate hike before pulling the filling in April due to math errors uncovered by a Department of Insurance review.

Aetna filed for a 19 percent rate hike affecting 65,000 ratepayers. Aetna had previously filed for an average 19 percent rate hike before withdrawing its filing due to mathematical errors found in its rate filing.

Commissioner Poizner announced last week that he would create unprecedented transparency by posting all health insurance rate filings for the individual market on the California Department of Insurance's Web site. They can be found at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/IndHlthRateFilings/. Interested parties can also submit comments that will be reviewed by California Department of Insurance (CDI) lawyers and actuaries.

He also recently announced that the rate filings of California's four largest insurers in the individual health insurance market will be given an additional level of scrutiny by having them analyzed by an outside actuary. With today's filings, the remaining large insurer that does not have an active filing with CDI is Health Net.

Unlike auto and homeowners insurance rates, health insurance rates do not require prior approval by the Department of Insurance. However, state law requires that 70 cents of every dollar collected in health insurance premiums be spent on medical benefits. This additional actuarial review will scrutinize each filing to make sure companies comply with the 70 percent threshold.

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