Digital News Report – California Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones, announced that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to reduce its quarterly premium increase by an average of 3 percent instead of the 6 percent for a few small group health insurance plans. The plans are Solution 2500 PPO, Solution 3500 PPO and Solution 5000 PPO, which are often purchased by small businesses.
The new rate increase will begin on July 1, 2011. There are around 18,000 members that will see higher health insurance premiums who are with the Anthem Blue Cross PPO plans. Instead of the proposed 6 percent rate increase, Anthem Blue Cross agreed to increase the rate by only 3 percent on average.
This is the first time that the Department of Insurance has reviewed a small group rate filing since new state law went into effect on January 1, 2011.
New state legislation has been introduced by Assembly member Feuer for AB 52, which would limit health insurance providers from increasing rates to only once per year. The Insurance Commissioner would also be able to reject an insurance company’s rate increase if it is excessive. Currently there are no laws in California that would give the Insurance Commissioner the authority to stop health insurance rate increases; the government officials are only allowed to review the rates. Insurance Commissioner Jones favors AB52, which has passed the State Assembly and will go to the Senate Health Committee on June 29th.
By: Greg Cook