On Tuesday, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) sent letters asking three major health insurance companies to delay planned rate increases for at least 60 days, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The letters -- sent to Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare -- come shortly after Jones sent a similar request to Blue Shield of California. Last week, Blue Shield announced plans to impose a series of rate increases that could total as much as 59% for nearly 200,000 individual policyholders (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 1/12).
Rate Hike Details
Aetna, Anthem and PacifiCare all recently submitted notices to the state Department of Insurance about their planned premium hikes for individual health insurance policies. The department received notice that:
- Aetna plans to raise rates by an average of 2.8% on April 1;
- Anthem plans to raise rates by an average of 9.8% on April 1; and
- PacifiCare plans to raise average rates by between 2.5% and 9.1% (Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 1/12).
Aetna, Anthem and PacifiCare said they could not comment on Jones' request because they had yet to see his letters.
Meanwhile, state officials said they would not ask Health Net to suspend its 4% average rate increases, which took effect on Jan. 1. Officials said Health Net's policies met a state requirement that insurers must spend 70% of premium revenue on medical care (Helfand, Los Angeles Times, 1/12).
Jones said he is asking insurers to delay their rate hikes so he can have sufficient time to review their filings and ensure that the proposed increases are in compliance with state law.
He noted that California law currently does not authorize the insurance commissioner to reject what he considers "excessive" rate hikes (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/11).