Anthem to raise some premiums as much as 25%

Up to 306,000 Californians with older, individual Anthem health insurance policies — unchanged by Obamacare — are subject to the rate increases. Individual customers with older insurance policies untouched by Obamacare are getting some jarring news: Their premiums are going up as much as 25%. 

  • Amid the fury last fall over canceled health policies, consumer advocates and state officials warned people that holding onto grandfathered policies purchased before the federal healthcare law was enacted in 2010 wouldn’t shield them from significant rate hikes.
  • The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for people in this situation to switch coverage because insurers can no longer deny applicants on the basis of preexisting conditions or charge them more because of their medical history.
  • The company said customers do have new options thanks to the healthcare law. “Many of the members affected exchange and may have lower premiums if they decide to switch to an Affordable Care Act-compliant policy.
  • But changing plans isn’t an appealing option for some consumers who like the benefits they have now and worry about losing access to their doctors.

In recent months, state regulators have criticized major insurers for overstating what they expect to pay for patients’ future medical costs in order to support substantial rate increases. Other insurers have met resistance when boosting premiums on grandfathered policies.

But state officials don’t have authority to reject health insurance rate increases. An initiative on the November ballot seeks to change that by giving the insurance commissioner the power to deny excessive increases for health coverage.

Opponents of the ballot measure, including insurers, doctors, hospitals and business groups, say it doesn’t address the underlying reasons for rising premiums.

Critics also worry that stricter rate regulation could undermine the new state exchange, which negotiates rates with health plans as part of the healthcare law.

*Modified from a latimes.com article

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