Anthem seeks double-digit premium increase in California due to 30% hike in drug costs

Anthem Blue Cross in California requested a 35 percent premium rate increase for its 2018 ACA exchange plans, citing a significant increase in prescription drug use, Kaiser Health News reports.

The payer predicts a 30 percent increase in prescription drug costs for plans sold on Covered California, the state's individual health insurance exchange. Anthem's prediction is almost double the estimates of two other large insurers, the report states.

Anthem spokesperson Colin Manning told Kaiser Health News the proposed rate hike in California, which assumes federal subsidies for its individual exchange plans will continue, reflects "the increasing utilization and rising cost of prescription drugs we have experienced in this market over the last couple of years."

Advocacy groups such as Consumers Union, based in Yonkers, N.Y., said Anthem's reasoning is contrary to what other insurers are stating.

"Anthem projects an extraordinary increase in its enrollees' use of prescription drugs at four or more times the rate of enrollees at other carriers," Dena Mendelsohn, a staff attorney for Consumers Union in San Francisco, told the publication.

For the full report, click here.

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