Outrage Du Jour - California Anthem Blue Cross to raise health insurance rates 39%

This one is just incredible.

California's largest for-profit health insurer is moving to dramatically raise rates for customers with individual policies, setting off a furor among policyholders and prompting state insurance regulators to investigate.

Anthem Blue Cross is telling many of its approximately 800,000 customers who buy individual coverage -- people not covered by group rates -- that its prices will go up March 1 and may be adjusted "more frequently" than its typical yearly increases.

The insurer declined to say how high it is increasing rates. But brokers who sell these policies say they are fielding numerous calls from customers incensed over premium increases of 30% to 39%, saying they come on the heels of similar jumps last year.

Look at that, a Medical Doctor is going to have a tough time paying those premiums.

The Obama administration is now calling out the gouging.

Wellpoint owns Anaheim Blue Cross and last Q4 2009 profits were $2.7 billion.

Meanwhile TV is a monotone stream of ads for expensive drugs, loaded with side effects, while studies show they are no more effective than older, cheaper drugs and in the case of anti-depressants (inundating you with messages that magic pills will give you an instant family, a dog and a home with an ocean view), are no more effective than placebo.

When is the oh so obvious American people ripoff going to stop?

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all EPers: do you want this as a daily series?

I'm thinking of adding a graphic and every day someone writes up the "outrage du jour" in some incredible, beyond belief screw job on the middle class pocketbook.

A lot of times I ignore these because there are so many and it's outside the "big picture", where is what I like, those huge macro economic indicators and stats...

but many of these stories, really drive home what is buried or implied by statistics (which I do try to add a lot of description so the implications are amplified)...

If I make sure you can access the graphic would ya all be interested in this?

As in anyone of you could write up the outrage du jour when you see it?

I see these things every damn day.

I personally have been having fun with health issues, but nothing too serious. (Thank God). To me, the entire system is FUBAR. You go to some Doctor, they do not tell you fees up front, then they do stuff you didn't authorize that is worthless and on top of it, magically give you a diagnosis straight from AstraZeneca, despite the fact you have none of those symptoms. The side effects from pills costing over $100/month and higher are worse than the condition you're trying to treat. Then, your insurance company jacks up the rates and tries to claim some office visit isn't covered because the Doctor stuck their finger somewhere, so that's now classified as "surgery", subject to a deductible.

I mean from the research end (on how it's funded) to creating drugs for profit, to the actual training of these doctors, to the blizzard of paper from these industries, to the way payments are made, to the lack of cost disclosure up front or the charges, to the statistics of effectiveness (biased studies).....I mean the whole damn thing in this country is seriously messed up.

In the interim, we have lobbyists every where, running this show and the percentage in Congress who actually want real reforms to stop this insanity...are always in the minority (probably because that isn't very profitable).

I'm curious

How much Blue Cross spent lobbying against HCR, and how much they expect to gain from raising these rates?
I would be surprised if the numbers are similar.

lobbying dollars

vs. profits generally would be a very interesting spreadsheet.

This came up in a google. 4.7% against health care reform (Wellpoint) and in terms of profit percentage to individual policy holders, it's 73%.

I suspect, strongly there has been more lobbying on issues than ever made even short term profits.

Would make a dynamite post on the insanity of it all. I put up one detailed stats on how banking lobbied for policies that hurt them on profits (of course that's before they figured out how to have unlimited bail outs via the taxpayer).

Interesting tidbit of info about Wellpoint (Anthem BC)

They own the internet domain anthembluecrosssucks.com, not leaving any stone unturned are they?. BTW: the registration was done through an Australian registrar, just to stay of of sight. Talk about devious! Is this the image a company that we are supposed to entrust our health to is supposed to act like?

THE PROOF: http://www.whois.net/whois/anthembluecrosssucks.com