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From Wall Street Journal "The Wellpoint Mugging"

A very interesting article from the Wall Street Journal.

The Wellpoint Mugging

Some parts of the article are quite telling.

He ought to subpoena California's political class because Wellpoint's rate hikes are the direct result of the Golden State's insurance regulations—the kind that Democrats want to impose on all 50 states. Under federal Cobra rules, the unemployed are allowed to keep their job-related health benefits for 18 to 36 months. California then goes further and bars Anthem from dropping these customers even after they have exhausted Cobra. California also caps what Anthem can charge these post-Cobra customers.


This next one hits home for me as one of the leading Anthem HIPAA producers in California. While I know that Anthem is taking losses on the guaranteed-issue side, I also am confident that my book of Anthem HIPAA business (which apparently is #2 in the state of CA right behind e-healthinsurance)is not creating losses. Yes, the whole pool is losing money and Anthem has been covering almost 80% of it for several years (same with MRMIP). However, I always strive to do proper case development before I pick the appropriate HIPAA plan for a client and find I have a fairly even spread between my three California major medical carriers. And no, Anthem has not invited me to lunch for my high HIPAA production LOL!

This explains why Anthem lost $58 million in California on its post-Cobra customers in 2009. If WellPoint didn't raise premiums amid these losses, it would soon be under assault from its shareholders, if not out of business.



The company presented its findings to California insurance commissioner Steve Poizner last November, who had a month to review the proposed increases and never objected. But recently amid the White House campaign, Mr. Poizner has joined the chorus claiming to be "skeptical" of the increases and demanding that Anthem postpone them while he conducts a review. Anthem has done so.

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