Insurance Commissioner

Court Rejects Insurance Industry Sleight-of-Hand

“Hocus pocus.”  “Smoke and mirrors.”
 
These words appeared late Friday afternoon in a published decision of the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento describing the insurance industry’s latest failed attack on the consumer protections of insurance reform Proposition 103.
 
The Court upheld Prop 103 rules that prevent insurance companies from earning excessive profits and prohibit them from passing on excessive costs – like sports sponsorships – to consumers.
 

Execs Can't Explain How Consumers Benefit From Anthem-Cigna Merger

Yesterday in San Francisco, Anthem VP Jay Wagner and Cigna’s Tom Richards refused to commit to price reductions for California consumers if the $54 Billion deal for Anthem to buy Cigna is approved.

In fact, Anthem and Cigna’s executives could not provide any concrete examples of how the Anthem-Cigna merger would benefit consumers at the four-hour hearing into the merger I attended at the Department of Insurance.

Capitol Watchdog: Upcoming Meetings to Watch

A Medical Board task force (it's called Patient Notification, when it really should be Physician Probation Notification) will be discussing possible protocols for notifying patients about doctors on probation.

Alarming Study Should Push CA Lawmakers to Get Serious About Rate Regulation

Since 2012, health insurance companies have imposed more than $300 million in rate hikes deemed by the California regulators to be excessive and unjustified. In addition to these actual higher premiums, shrinking physician networks, fewer benefits, increasing out-of-network charges and soaring deductibles have become the hidden premium hike for health insurance that an increasing number of consumers simply can't afford. 
 

Will State Agency Protect CA Consumers in Centene/Health Net Merger?

Let's hope that the state's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) is tougher on Centene and Health Net and their proposed merger than it was at a recent public meeting. 

In a letter sent to the DMHC, Consumer Watchdog urged the agency to prohibit Centene from shuttering any of Health Net's commercial plans, require it to upgrade any physician network issues and prevent executives from removing any reserves from California to pay for lavish compensation packages related to the deal. 

State Regulators Defenseless In the Face of Aetna Premium Hikes

Aetna is ending the year just like it started, with state regulators saying the insurance company has hiked premiums excessively, and there is nothing they can do about it. 
 

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