Roundup: Big insurance premium hikes sought in Calif., Conn.; Lawsuit alleges state regulators pad nursing home profits

A selection of health policy stories from California, Connecticut, Georgia and Oregon.

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Blue Cross Seeks To Raise Individual Policyholders Rates
California's largest for-profit health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross, is seeking to raise rates an average of 18 percent for more than 630,000 individual policyholders, drawing scrutiny from regulators and the ire of consumers already struggling with soaring premiums. Some Anthem customers may see rates rise as much as 25 percent in February under the company's proposal at a time when medical inflation is running at historic lows nationwide (Terhune, 11/28).

CT Mirror: As Enrollment Falls, Charter Oak Health Plan Premiums Rise
Because she's self-employed, Donna Faulknor spent years buying her own health insurance. She figures she's paid more for coverage than her mortgage. But when the premiums hit four figures for a plan with a $10,000 deductible, she and her husband joined the ranks of Connecticut's uninsured. Eventually, they turned to the state's Charter Oak Health Plan, which offered coverage for $307 a month. She dropped the plan when the monthly cost rose to $446 last fall, but a health scare convinced her it was worth struggling to pay for the program. Now the state is again raising the monthly cost (Levin Becker, 11/27).

California Watch: Lawsuit Targets Nursing Home Management, State Regulators
State regulators allow nursing home companies to siphon money away from patient care to pad corporate profits, alleges a lawsuit filed by a longtime foe of the industry. Glendale attorney Russ Balisok, who has made a career of suing nursing homes, brought the suit seeking to invalidate parts of state law that allow nursing facilities to contract out their own management. ... Country Villa provided a statement that it is in full compliance with state authorities and federal law (Evans, 11/28).

Georgia Health News: Insurer Halts Medicare Advantage Sales In Georgia
A Florida-based health insurer has agreed to halt the sale of new Medicare Advantage plans in Georgia amid state regulators' concerns over the company's finances. Universal Health Care currently has about 25,000 Georgians in its Advantage plans ... Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who signed a consent order with the company Nov. 15, cited Universal's net loss of $27 million in 2011 and its loss of $22.1 million in the first six months of this year as triggering his move to halt sales (Miller, 11/27).

Modern Healthcare: Calif. System Seeks To Launch Health Plan
MemorialCare Health System, Fountain Valley, Calif., is planning to launch its own health plan following the acquisition of certain assets of Universal Care, Long Beach, Calif. ... The plan will support Medi-Cal beneficiaries and participate in the California Children's Services demonstration project that focuses on pediatric patients with ongoing medical conditions (Kutscher, 11/27).

California Healthline: Rescheduling Special Session In January Shouldn't Change Discussion
The one-month delay in the legislative special session on health care should not affect the content of the discussion, according to Assembly member Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who chairs the Assembly Committee on Health. ... In August, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced he would convene a special session in the Legislature after the national election in November, to address elements of the Affordable Care Act (Gorn, 11/28).

The Oregonian: Oregon Health Officials Explore Disparities In Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Communities
In its newest edition of CD Summary, the Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, explores health disparities experienced by those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, versus those who identify as heterosexual (Muldoon, 11/27).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.




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