Largest health plan in Calif. delays $40M rate hike

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anthem Blue Cross, the largest health plan in California, is reducing and delaying rate hikes — moves the state insurance commissioner says will save policyholders at least $40 million.

Anthem announced Monday that it will put off a planned April premium hike until July, and increases in deductibles and co-payments until next January.

Anthem also says it's reducing the planned premium increase from 9.8 percent to 9.1 percent.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says when the co-pays and other increases are added in, Anthem's 600,000 policyholders would have found themselves paying 16.4 percent more in the middle of the year — and some might have been forced to put off treatment.

The commissioner can't deny rate hikes, but Jones says Blue Shield, Aetna and PacifiCare also have agreed to delays.