Rate Hikes Result In Lawsuit

It does not matter where in the State of Texas that you live. Whether you are in a small community like Weatherford or in the middle of the Dallas, Fort Worth, area, in cities like Arlington or Grand Prairie, you will see rate increases in your health insurance.
In the state of California, a consumer group filed a lawsuit on March 1, 2010. This was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The article is found in the health care section of the paper and is titled “Anthem Blue Cross Sued Over Rate Increases”. The lawsuit alleges that Anthem Blue Cross, by raising rates, was forcing policy holders to move into other policies with higher deductibles and lower benefits.
The consumer group, called Consumer Watchdog, accuses Anthem of violating state law by failing to offer policy holders comparable coverage and minimized rate hikes after the company directs customers to alternative plans when closing existing plans. One lady in the lawsuit, said the company offered her the option of switching to a policy with a higher deductible and skimpier benefits by a specific deadline, but also told her she could stay in her current policy. The company then notified her of the enormous premium increases in her plan after the deadline for switching had passed.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Ventura County, effects about 800,000 people. Anthem, which is owned by WellPoint Inc. has come under state and federal scrutiny for hiking its 800,000 individual policy holders, or those not covered through a group plan, by as much as 39 percent.
One piece of good news is, the company has agreed to delay the rate increase that were taking effect on Monday, until May 1, to allow the state time to investigate.
The lawsuit also accuses Anthem of forcing older and sicker members, who are unable to switch carriers, to pay higher and higher premiums until they accept inferior coverage or drop coverage altogether.
As further information, another lawsuit was filed in San Mateo County Superior Court, on February 11, accusing the insurer of unfair competitive business practices.

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