Rate Hike Whack-A-Mole

Earlier this week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote about Anthem Blue Cross’s announcement that many of its 800,000 policy-holders in California could have their rates hiked by nearly 39%.  With today’s news that Anthem will postpone the rate hike for two months while it reviews the matter, HHS issued this follow-up reaction from the Secretary:

Families shouldn't be hit with these premium increases in March or May. I hope this is the first step toward ensuring families are not stuck with higher bills or fewer benefits, but these delays are no substitute for action. This example only underscores the importance of passing real health insurance reform.

While Anthem is holding its hike in one state, however, the Associated Press reported that consumers in at least four states are about to get hit with premium increases of 15% or more.  In Maine, for example, Anthem Blue Cross is seeking to raise rates by 23 percent this year, after jacking up rates 32 per cent last year.  That means a family of four may find themselves paying $1876 a month for health insurance.  And this is just the beginning, according to a member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, who predicts consumers in several states are about to get hit with increases of “20, 25, 30 percent.”

Related Topics: Health Care, California, Maine