Maine insurance regulators have denied a request by Anthem, Indianapolis, for its third substantial premium increase in three years. Anthem, which operates the state's 500,000-member Blues plan, had sought to boost rates by an average of 7.1% for 28,000 individuals in its HealthChoice indemnity product, by far the state's largest individual insurance plan, and by 25.2% for about 275 Individual HMO members. Maine regulators said average increases of 3.3% for HealthChoice and 11.5% for the HMO product were more likely to be approved. Anthem must file a revised request by Nov. 18 to raise rates by Jan. 1. Earlier this year, Anthem imposed rate hikes of 12.7% for HealthChoice and 30.3% for its Individual HMO product, according to the Maine Bureau of Insurance. That's on top of 2001 increases of 23.5% and 32.5%, respectively. Anthem contended another round of increases was necessary if it were to remain committed to the individual insurance market, which health plans nationwide have been exiting because of widening losses. -- by Laura B. Benko
Maine denies Anthem higher rates for individuals
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