Anthem to raise some premiums up to 25 percent

Thousands of Anthem Blue Cross customers are getting some shocking news in the mail. Their health insurance premiums are going up dramatically on April 1.
January 31, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Thousands of Anthem Blue Cross customers are getting some shocking news in the mail. Their health insurance premiums are going up dramatically on April 1.

Laurel Kaufer of Woodland Hills says she was shocked and angry when she learned her health insurance premium was going up over $200 more a month.

"It's going to now be, on April 1, $1,023 a month for me alone, with the same deductible, same co-pays. It's enough. It's too much," said Kaufer.

Kaufer is one of thousands of Californians who have health insurance with Anthem Blue Cross and are about to be slapped with an average 16 percent rate hike. Some could see their premiums jump as much as 25 percent. The company blames the proposed increase on rising health care costs.

"Due to increasing medical costs and due to a pool of people, which is generally older and sicker than they were last year, we have to raise rates to cover our costs," said Daniel Ng with Anthem Blue Cross.

Meantime, Kaufer says the new rate has forced her to give up the coverage she has had with Anthem for 30 years and find another policy with another company.

"I began calling insurance brokers and began looking into the new policies. I don't qualify for any of the subsidies or any of that," said Kaufer.

Unlike auto insurance premiums, which are regulated by the state insurance commissioner, health insurance premiums are not.

"California is one of only a handful of states in the country that has no power to tell insurance companies 'no' when they try to raise rates unreasonably," said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog.

Balber has put an initiative on the November ballot to change that.

"The measure on this November's ballot will give voters a chance to require health insurance companies to open their books, justify their premiums under penalty of perjury, and get approval before they go into effect," said Balber.

According to Consumer Watchdog, Anthem Blue Cross and its parent company, Well Point, is spending nearly $13 million to defeat the ballot initiative that is set for the November ballot. If you feel you need to find another policy in the meantime, look to Covered California. You may even qualify for a federal subsidy to offset your new premium.


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