We Told the Regulators What’s On Our Mind—Now It’s Your Turn

Experts

Senior Attorney

By Dena Mendelsohn on Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Back in August, we blogged that with Covered California’s 2015 health insurance premium announcement it was “time to do our research.” And for the past month, that’s what we’ve done—along with filing two comment letters with the Department of Managed Healthcare.

Although the overall rates are the smallest health insurance increases in California proposed in years, we do find grounds for questioning those for two plans.

Both Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California do not provide adequate justification for their proposed increase—and that may cost some consumers over 44% more to renew their plans in 2016.

Consumers Union also joined recently with four other advocacy organizations to ask DMHC to cross-check what insurers said to substantiate their proposed rates for 2016. Those assertions were based on information in proprietary reports that were not shared. Rates should reflect regulator-validated projections rather than data hidden in confidential reports.

Consumers Union is inviting consumers to join us in a petition to DMHC, urging that the regulator demand that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield give more details about why they are increasing premiums and to make sure those reasons are valid and fair. In addition to the confidential, we call out the following findings:

  • Both carriers want to increase spending on administrative expenses and stockpile savings without explaining why; and
  • Both companies plan to spend less money on improving quality for consumers in 2016 than in 2015.

If consumers are paying more for health insurance, they deserve to get more from their plans. If you agree, sign our petition by clicking here. DMHC only has until the end of the month to negotiate with insurers, so sign today to tell them to look out for your interests!

2 responses to “We Told the Regulators What’s On Our Mind—Now It’s Your Turn”

  1. Minerva Novoa says:

    The comment letters we submitted earlier this month, with our outside actuary, gets into the details. You can read our comments on Anthem’s plan at the following link:

    http://consumersunion.org/research/consumers-unions-comments-on-blue-cross-of-california-dba-anthem-blue-cross-rate-filing

    and Blue Shield of California’s plan below:

    http://consumersunion.org/research/consumers-unions-comments-on-california-physicians-service-dba-blue-shield-of-california-rate-filing

  2. David Brandtman says:

    Hello Dena:

    I question your assertions, because the assertions you contest were based on proprietary reports that were not shared. We all want to reduce health care insurance costs, but is this really the productive way to do it? Regulators already require justification for rate increases and this petition will not make any difference. Attack the component costs, like drug prices, and carriers like United Health buying out the competition. That might have a greater impact than a petition that goes in the regulator’s file drawer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *