Feinstein Statement on California Insurance Commissioner’s Decision to Subject Health Insurers’ Rate Hike Proposals to Outside Scrutiny
Jun 16 2010
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement after learning that the California Insurance Commissioner will order independent actuarial reviews of rate hikes sought by the four top health insurers in the state.
The largest health insurance companies in the individual market are Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, Health Net and Blue Shield.
“Today, California’s Department of Insurance announced that individual insurance policy rate hikes by the state’s four largest health insurers will be subject to an independent actuarial review.
This is necessary to protect Californians and I commend the Department for its action. I have introduced legislation in the Senate which would give the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to review and modify unreasonable rates. This would be especially beneficial to states like California, where the state insurance commissioner currently does not have the authority to reject unfair hikes.
An independent investigation found that health insurer Anthem Blue Cross, a subsidiary of WellPoint, used flawed data to calculate premium rate increases for 800,000 policyholders in California. These rate increases of up to 39 percent would have devastated policyholders in California if the truth had not been uncovered.
California’s experience with Anthem shows that a large insurance company can makes serious mistakes in calculating rates, and overcharge consumers.
It is my hope that an independent review will shine a light on the methodologies used by health insurers to calculate premium rates. I believe it’s only through transparency that we can ensure that any rate increases are fair and accurate.”