Blue Cross Rate Increases


State regulators in California held a meeting in Los Angeles to hear complaints from Blue Cross customers in regard to rate increases and complaints about care that their physician recommended being canceled or refused outright. The Blue Cross patients joined with advocacy groups calling for penalties against Blue Cross and for instituting new and more broad-based health care reform.

The complaint is the Blue Cross did violate a patient protection agreement that they had agreed to and adopted when they merged with Anthem back in 2004. The merger between the two groups resulted in the creation of the nation's largest health insurance organization.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights' also released an analysis that indicates that Blue Cross illegally transferred up to an estimated $6.5 billion in California insurance premiums to their out of state parent company and that this is a violation of th merger agreement. They also say that Blue Cross violated an agreement that they had in place with regulators not to charge their patients for the $4.3 billion it cost to finance the merger and in addition as much as another $600 million that was given to top executives in the form of bonuses and stock options.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights' states that they always had a fear that things like this would happen and they have been collecting complaints from Blue Cross customers since the merger was put together and some of the complaints they have collected include denials of medically necessary care that resulted in the death of at least one patient, premium increases in the double digit range, and if a customer did not allow them to automatically deduct payment from their bank accounts, they were charged $2 for each bill that they had mailed to them.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights' is calling upon the regulators to issue injunctions against Blue Cross to enjoin them from any more of the illegal practices. They also recommend that there be financial oversight in place and that it be continued indefinitely.