California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Asks Aetna, Anthem, Pacificare to Delay Rate Increases

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has asked three more health insurers in California to delay rate increases an additional 60 days so his office can review proposed increases to determine if they comply with California law. The DOI sent letters to Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Pacificare urging their cooperation.

“The state’s largest health insurers have submitted multiple premium increases for early 2011, and I am very concerned about the impact these increases will have on policyholders, especially since I have not had sufficient time to review these filings,” Commissioner Jones said in a prepared statement.

California law requires health insurers to spend at least 70 percent of premiums on their policyholders’ healthcare claims. Jones is attempting to raise that number to 80 percent, which would make billions more available to cover medical bills.

Jones’ ability to stop rate increases is limited. He can only do so if the company spends less than the 70 percent on health costs state law mandates. The California Legislature has the authority to pass legislation that would give the DOI more power to regulate rate increases. We’re urging our government leaders take all appropriate action to ensure that insurance rates remain fair.

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