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Anthem Blue Cross could owe big refund checks to 730,000 Californians if its proposed rate hikes of up to 25% are deemed excessive thanks to an initiative voters will consider on the 2014 ballot.

The ballot measure requires health insurance companies to get approval before raising rates and allows that refunds be ordered on rates that are considered excessive after November 6, 2012.  When voters approve the measure, the insurance commissioner will have the power to retroactively order refunds for excessive rates.

Read the initiative here

“Anthem and every health insurance company in California are on notice: Excessive rate hikes they impose today could mean big refund checks for consumers down the road,” said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog.

Anthem has proposed rate hikes averaging 18%, and as high as 25%, for 630,000 individual policyholders.

It has proposed rate hikes averaging 15%, and as high as 25%, for another 100,000 individual policyholders.

The Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act qualified for the ballot in August, after Consumer Watchdog Campaign and allies submitted petitions containing 800,000 voter signatures.

“Californians can no longer afford the outrageous double-digit rate hikes health insurance companies like Anthem have imposed year after year, and sometimes multiple times a year, ” said Jamie Court, proponent of the ballot measure and president of Consumer Watchdog. “This initiative gives voters the chance to take control of health insurance prices by forcing health insurance companies to publicly open their books and justify rates, under penalty of perjury.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the first person to sign the ballot petition, is an honorary co-chair of the ballot initiative campaign, which is also supported by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

The ballot initiative builds on California’s successful model of rate regulation for auto, home and other property and business insurance. That law, Proposition 103, was enacted by the voters in 1988 and has saved California drivers $62 billion since it was enacted.

The Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act:

  • Requires health insurance companies to publicly disclose and justify, under penalty of perjury, proposed rate changes before they take effect.
  • Makes every document filed by an insurance company to justify a rate increase a public record.
  • Requires public hearings on proposed rate increases.
  • Gives Californians the right to challenge excessive and unfair premium rate increases.
  • Prohibits health, auto and home insurers from considering Californians’ credit history or prior insurance coverage when setting premiums or deciding whether to offer coverage.
  • Gives the elected insurance commissioner authority to reject unjustified rate increases.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm currently being ripped by Anthem/BCross (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vatexia

    In California. Many provides don't even accept Anthem Blue Cross any more. I'm told the rates they pay Doctors/providers are way to low.

    Male, 1 Person. I pay $800 a month, $1,500 Deduct. 70% Coverage.

    I reached my deductible once in the last 12 years and only went over by a few hundred dollars.

    12 Years ago, last year under Clinton. $212 a month. $500 Deduct, 90%

    I understand the fear of reaching the place of

    1. You go without seeing a doctor as you can't afford it and even if you do and he has bad news you can't afford to seek treatment as it's to expensive.

    2. You go to an ER as a last resort and are looked upon as a loser/TAKER.

    3. Just die.

    What is so hard for the people who are against Obama Care to understand? Current US Health Care is UnAffordable for Middle Class. PERIOD.

    "It is the difficulties that make us stronger."

    by Chamonix on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:33:31 AM PST

  •  We JUST received a notice from Anthem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    S F Hippie, Vatexia

    Blue Cross that our rates were going up 25%!  My husband is so pissed.  "Where are the rate CUTS promised by Obamacare?" he said just this morning and I said the insurance companies are just raising their middle fingers at everyone and saying, "Sue me!" knowing that will take YEARS while they bilk us.

    I'll send him a link to your diary and see if that helps.

    Best. President. Ever.

    by Little Lulu on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:39:03 AM PST

    •  I just received a notice from Anthem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vatexia

      my rate will be going up 25% in Feb.. will be on Medicare in June. Don't think I'll be considering Anthem Blue Cross for any Medicare supplements.

      "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." -B. Dylan

      by S F Hippie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 11:54:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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