On February 14, 2013, The California Department of Insurance issued the following news release concerning Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company. They announced that Anthem Blue Cross in California has been held to a 13.87% rate increase approval. Previously, the rate increase was to be 17.93%, however out of the benevolence of their heart, and agreeing to the request of the California Insurance Commissioner, it was lowered to the 13.87% level. This rate decrease directly affects approximately 690,000 policyholders who purchased the individual and family health insurance products Anthem offers.
Insurance Commissioner Jones, who I have found myself agreeing with more that I ever thought I would, has made the 13.87% increase sound like a victory. Well let me ask you, when was the last time that you were held to a 13.87% salary raise for one year. The best part of this announcement is the fact that Anthem has now been able to subject themselves to only a 22% increase in premium rates for the last two years; once again I will ask you when was the last time you sacrificed yourself to only a 22% increase in salary for the last two years.
The California Insurance Commissioner reviewed the request for the rate increase of 17.93% and finding it unacceptable, he then asked that Anthem lower their rates, which they did. In California, the Insurance Commissioner does not have the power to unilaterally reject an insurance rate increase request. The Commissioners’ Office can review the request and make their recommendations. The Commissioner can however, accept or reject a rate change request from personal lines carriers, which he has done in the past.
If the Insurance Commissioner would be given the power to accept or reject a rate increase request from the Health Care Industry, I really do not know if our interest would be protected or not. I have taken the opportunity to review the following information taken from Election Track at www.electiontrack.com
and it deals with Mr. Jones and the campaign contributions he has accepted. It makes me question his commitment for you and me to be given some consideration concerning our insurance premiums. Mr. Jones has accepted contributions from the following:
1) SEIU United Health Care Workers West PAC.
2) Union of American Physicians and Dentist
3) Kindred Health Care of Louisville Kentucky
4) California Chiropractic Association
5) Sharp Community Medical Group
6) California Nurses Association PAC
7) Covenant Care of Alison Viejo California
8) California Association for Health Services At Home
9) Pacific Hospital of Long Beach
10) The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America
The above names are just a selection of those organizations interested in the continued profitability of the health care industry.
Somewhere, sometime, someone will have to stand up and say the words everyone dreads to hear ‘PRICE CONTROLS.’ I believe that time is now, otherwise our local, state and national governments will not be able to stand the strain of additional health maintenance cost being put upon them due to the fact no one can afford their own health policy.