WellPoint will conduct a third-party review of all its individual market 2010 rate filings, as HHS calls on state regulators to take a closer look at the company's rate increases.
The move comes a week after the California insurance commissioner announced that an independent actuary found flaws in WellPoint's rate filing in that state, which would have raised premiums for individual members by up to 39%. Anthem Blue Cross of California, a WellPoint subsidiary, has since withdrawn that planned rate hike
and said it will submit a new rate plan to the state sometime this month.
WellPoint will implement third-party reviews for all its individual market rate filings across 14 states, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based insurer confirmed.
In a letter to governors and state insurance commissioners
, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged states to re-examine WellPoint rate increases.
“Working with my colleagues on the state level, we are sending a message to insurers that it is time for them to put their customers first,” Sebelius said in a written statement. “I sent this letter to encourage governors and insurance commissioners to follow California's example and check the math on rate increases being proposed in their states and to ensure they have the strong regulatory tools they need to fight unreasonable increases.”