In a press release from the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) issued last week, Commissioner Steve Poizner issued the following statement regarding Anthem Blue Shield’s recently announced substantial rate increases:
I’m alarmed by the Anthem Blue Cross health insurance rate hikes, especially in a time when the recession has forced so many people into the individual health insurance market,” said Commissioner Poizner. “State law requires that insurers spend at least 70 cents of every dollar of premium on medical care. I have instructed my department to hire an outside actuary to examine their rates line by line to ensure they are complying with this state law. If we find that their rates are excessive, I will use the full power of my office to bring these rates down.
Commissioner Poizner also reminded Californians who have to purchase individual health insurance that there are dozens of insurance companies to choose from.
“Just like auto and homeowners insurance, consumers can choose from nearly 70 different companies who offer health insurance in the individual health insurance market,” Commissioner Poizner said. “As a consumer you need to shop around. A different provider may prove to be a better value for a particular individual or family’s needs, and all of them are looking for new customers. I encourage consumers who are not happy with their rates, co-pays, benefits or service to look at other options.”
It is noteworthy that the CDI launched last year the first ever PPO report card that gives consumers even more information about the quality of service each of the major health insurance company offers. Anthem Blue Cross has the lowest rating of any of the reviewed health insurers. The PPO report card can be found at http://interactive.web.insurance.ca.gov/ppo/front.