Posts Tagged - ‘california health insurance’

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Will Health Insurance Plan Provider Pay $10 Billion Fine?

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

One of the many complexities associated with health care is the constant mergers and buyouts. The worst-case scenario is that when your health insurance plan is caught in the middle, your health falls by the wayside.

That’s what the state of California’s insurance commissioner accuses PacifiCare of doing after being acquired by United HealthCare several years ago. Former PPO patients state that their documents were lost or incorrectly entered into the system, causing their claims to be denied. This allegedly went on for several years, from 2006 (shortly after the merger) until 2008.

The insurer is unlikely to pay out the entire sum: it’s only the maximum they could be liable for, based on a fine of $100,000 per count for nearly a million counts. In the vast majority of cases, they will settle with the state.

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Math Errors Torpedo California Health Insurance Rate Increases

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The state of California has been a battleground for health insurers recently. First, WellPoint was heavily criticized for proposed small group and individual health insurance increases of over 30%. The highest premium jumps were later withdrawn after the insurance commissioner found mathematical errors. (Smaller increases were eventually approved.)

Now, it looks like history is repeating itself. Aetna had asked for increases that averaged nearly 20% for its California health insurance customers. It has withdrawn its request upon discovering a “human error” in its calculations.

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California Republicans Worry About Healthcare Reform

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Image: WhatDaHeck.com

In liberal states like California, GOP candidates are caught between a rock and a hard place. To win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, three candidates must tack right to appeal to primary voters, who are more partisan than the general election population. That means full-throated opposition about health insurance reform. Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, and and Tom Campbell all want what they consider to be unconstitutional legislation to be repealed.

While that isn’t hard in most states, polls continue to show that a majority of California residents approve of the law. Conservative registered Republicans are an exception in the state. After winning the nomination, they will have to convince those general election voters to vote for them instead of Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Either way, they’ll be accused of hypocrisy. President Obama still has relatively high approval ratings in the state, so the candidate will probably have to tone down their bashing of his affordable health insurance plan to get elected. Doing so will alienate the Tea Party contingent, but they may hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils.

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Will California Go Beyond Federal Health Insurance Reform?

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Image: Friends of Bill Monning

According to Democrat Bill Monning, his state of California will try to implement some aspects of health insurance reform before the federal government does.

What steps are they planning to take before 2014?

  • Allowing young adults under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan
  • Forbidding a health insurance plan from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions
  • More stringent state regulation of health insurance premiums

There are no guarantees; they are up against Republicans in the state legislature who are opposed to the legislation, as well as a governor who is threatening to cut public programs in order to reduce the budget deficit.

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Anthem Blue Cross Health Insurance Sued By Consumers

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

(Image: umjanedoan under CC 3.0)

The proposed health insurance rate increases by Anthem Blue Cross in California have been extremely controversial nationwide. Now, a consumer protection group has filed a lawsuit against the health insurer.

The group, known as Consumer Watchdog, claims that Anthem and its parent company WellPoint violated state law by leaving members with pre-existing conditions in closed policies–while preventing new members from joining certain health insurance plans. When Anthem then decided to jack up premiums, those people had nowhere to turn.

There is little competition, because people with pre-existing conditions can’t shop around for individual health insurance from other providers. Instead, they must either settle for inferior coverage and higher deductibles or pay more for the same coverage. Anthem Blue Cross’ actions may be considered an anticompetitive practice due to a provision in the California health and safety code, which requires health insurance companies to either expand the risk pool or offer a comparable alternative to closed plans.

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