Anthem lowers premium hikes in California after state inquiry

Anthem Blue Cross in California lowered premium increases for 2018 following state regulator scrutiny, CaliforniaHealthline reports.

The payer requested at least a 35 percent premium rate increase for its 2018 ACA exchange plans, citing a significant increase in prescription drug use. Anthem predicted a 30 percent increase in prescription drug costs next year, almost double the estimates of two other large insurers.

The California Department of Managed Health Care questioned the estimated increase. Following the intervention, Anthem lowered its premium increase for plans sold on Covered California, the state's individual health insurance exchange, by 3 percentage points. Anthem is still increasing premiums 37.3 percent for next year, the second-highest hike in California.

State officials predict the trim will reduce premiums by $114 million next year. The savings partially reflect Anthem's reassessed prediction of how much pharmacy costs will rise, which it now estimates at 23 percent.  

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