San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Anthem Reverses Rate Increase

By Kelly Goff Friday, February 15, 2013

Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to roll back an 18 percent rate increase on individual customers that drew protests by consumer advocates and criticism from state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

The Thousand Oaks-based health insurer, which the raised rates on more than 600,000 customers as of Feb. 1, has agreed to lower the increase to 14 percent. It also will allow customers who switched to cheaper products to switch back without medical underwriting, according to the California Department of Insurance.

While the department does not have the authority to regulate rate increases, insurance companies do file information about planned rate hikes with the office. The commissioner can then make recommendations.

“The department thoroughly reviewed the rate filing and then I asked Anthem Blue Cross to lower their rates,” said Jones in a statement. “I appreciate that Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to lower these rates.”

The rollback will save customers $54 million, Jones said. The increase affected customers enrolled in Anthem Blue Cross’ PPO insurance plans who purchased the product individually, rather than through an employer.

Anthem is a subsidiary of Wellpoint Inc. of Indianapolis.