State rate hike round-up: News from coast to coast

While Congress is making plans to regulate insurance company premiums on the federal level, state-level rate hike plans continue to make news. In Rhode Island, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island plans to ask the state for rate hikes of between 10 and 15 percent due to increases in healthcare costs and utilization. The insurer also announced it will begin a cost-cutting plan to combat a $100 million loss in 2009, reports the Providence Journal.

In Maine, Superior Court Chief Justice Thomas Humphrey upheld the state insurance superintendent's 2009 decision to deny an 18.1 percent rate increase sought by Anthem Health Plans of Maine Inc., for its individual policyholders, reports the Portland Press Herald. In his ruling, the judge said the superintendent didn't act improperly by considering the state of the economy and the profitability of Anthem's other business units when he approved a smaller 10.9 percent increase.

In California, Anthem Blue Cross will not institute its planned but highly contentious rate hikes for individual and small-group policyholders until at least the end of May, reports the Los Angeles Times. State law requires insurers to provide a minimum of 30 days' notice regarding rate increase.

In Massachusetts, a Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of Wellesley and Fallon Community Health Plan of Worcester to submit premium increases for individual and small-group policyholders based on April 2009 rates.

To learn more:
- read this Providence Journal article
- read this Portland Press Herald article
- read this Los Angeles Times article
- read this Boston Globe piece

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