Anthem Blue Cross parent Wellpoint's boasted an eightfold increase in Q4 2009 profits to $2.7B and to celebrate they are instituting unprecedented rate increases even as the national economy was contracting. The rate increase in California for many individual insureds was 39% (a friend in St Louis had the same increase) and Health and Human Services has finally had enough.
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to Anthem President Leslie Margolin demanding an explanation,
"With so many families already affected by rising costs, I was very disturbed to learn through media accounts that Anthem Blue Cross plans to raise premiums for its California customers by as much as 39%,...."Anthem should be used as the poster child for repealing anti-trust exemptions for insurers. Let members of Congress go on the record weeping of the blight of these poor insurers.
"These extraordinary increases are up to 15 times faster than inflation and threaten to make healthcare unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of Californians, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet in a difficult economy."
"I believe Anthem Blue Cross has a responsibility to provide a detailed justification for these rate increases to the public,"..."Additionally, you should make public information on the percent of your individual market premiums that is used for medical care versus the percent that is used for administrative costs."