Insurance Premiums in California Could Jump by 20%, Filings Show

TOPIC ALERT:

In California, health insurance premiums are expected to increase by as much as 20% in coming months, according to insurer filings submitted to federal and state agencies, the Orange County Register reports.

Planned Rate Hikes

Insurers that have filed rate increases with the California Department of Insurance include:

  • Aetna, which filed an average 9.9% increase for its individual plan effective July 1 and an 8% increase for its small group plan effective April 1;
  • Anthem Blue Cross, which filed an average 6.3% increase for its individual plan effective April 1 and a 12.25% to 17.85% increase for its small group plan effective May 1;
  • Blue Shield of California, which filed a 5.3% increase for its small group plan effective July 1;
  • Central United, which filed a 9% increase effective "on approval;"
  • John Alden, which filed a 9.9% increase for its group plan effective July 1;
  • Kaiser Permanente, which filed a 3.4% increase for its small group plan effective Jan. 1, 2013; and
  • UnitedHealthcare, which filed a 7.6% increase for its small group plan effective May 1.

Insurer Defends Rate Hikes

Darrel Ng -- a spokesperson for Anthem Blue Cross -- said, "Periodic rate adjustments are necessary to secure the ability of Anthem to cover medical claims costs and recent mandated benefits on behalf of our members."

Proposed Ballot Measure

Meanwhile, patient advocates and lawmakers continue to rally support for a proposed ballot measure that would give California's insurance department the authority to approve or reject rate increases that it deems excessive (Norman, Orange County Register, 3/26).

Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) endorsed the proposed ballot measure in an email to more than two million registered California voters. Feinstein urged voters to sign petitions in support of the measure, which needs 505,000 signatures to qualify for the November ballot (California Healthline, 2/23).


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