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Lawmakers react to health insurer's publicaton of rate-hikes of 39 percent in 2010

Anthem Blue Cross had announced it will be raising rates between 30 and 39 percent on March 1, 2010.  Other insurers have echoed this possibility.  Federal lawmakers have scheduled hearings to address these proposed hikes.  Anthem is a California subsidiary of Indianapolis-based WellPoint, Inc.  The company has not responded to the Insurance Commissioner's request that the rate hikes be delayed until May 1, so that the Commissioner can investigate. 

Company officials have blamed increased medical costs resulting from our "fee for service" medical system and declining membership as a result of the recession and higher premiums.  Last year, Anthem raised rates on some policyholders by as much as 68 percent.  The California Insurance Commissioner lacks the authority to regulate insurance rates (as do half of the states). WellPoint reported earnings or "net profit" of $4.7 billion dollars in 2009.

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