Anthem, critics face off over rate-hike request

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Critics of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield protested the health insurer's request for a nearly 20-percent increase in rates Wednesday, telling Connecticut insurance officials the proposal is shameful and greedy.

Anthem, a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., is seeking a 19.9-percent raise for 48,000 individual policy holders, citing escalating health care costs.

Sara Darer Littman, a Greenwich policy holder, said Anthem has too often sought rate increases that exceed inflation, forcing her to switch to a policy with a higher deductible to cover therapy for her son who has Asperger's Syndrome.

"I urge you to stop this unconscionable travesty," she told an Insurance Department panel.

The hearing was halted briefly as a group of protesters stood and held signs that said, "Shame" and accused Anthem of excessively compensating its CEO.

Kevin Galvin, head of a small business group, told the panel that cost increases in other services used by small businesses are not comparable to the "astronomical rate increases" sought by Anthem.

"The message is 'request a rate increase when there is a true need and not just for the sake of greed, especially when virtually all segments of our economy are barely hanging on while the requester is seeing amazing profits,'" he said.

The rate proposal applies to health insurance that was not subject to new requirements of the federal health care law enacted in March, Anthem said. If approved, the increase would take effect Jan. 1.

Robert Ruiz-Moss, an Anthem representative, told the Insurance Department panel that the insurer's analysis shows health care costs growing by double digits. Its rate requests are in line with those of competitors, he said.

Costs for hospital care, new technologies and other high-priced diagnostic services and prescription drugs are increasing, "and we owe it to our members to cover those costs and ensure access to a broad network of providers," Ruiz-Moss said.

WellPoint reported that its third-quarter profit was $739 million, up slightly from $730 million in the same three months in 2009. Operating revenue dropped nearly 6 percent, to $14.33 billion, partly because of a decline in enrollment for fully insured plans that bring in more money for insurers than group coverage they administer.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was rebuffed in his attempt to have the hearing postponed so more documents could be made available, told the panel that he sees no justification for the rate request.

"We believe the evidence so far is completely inadequate," said Blumenthal, who was elected U.S. senator this month.

Barbara Spear, acting insurance commissioner, is to rule on the request by mid- to late-December.

In August, California approved Anthem Blue Cross rate increases of 13.4 percent and Blue Shield 18.5 percent. Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest for-profit insurer, had withdrawn a rate increase request of as much as 39 percent and averaging about 25 percent.

Leading up to the vote on the federal health care bill, President Barack Obama often cited Anthem's rate hike as an example of a broken health care system.

In Maine, an Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield rate increase of 10.9 percent for individual health plans took effect July 1. That was down from 18.1 percent the insurer sought.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!