15 February 2010

Health Care Reform - Need Becomes More Critical

Insurance Premium Increase of 39% in California Adds to Health
Reform Urgency

The health care problem remains on the center stage now that
Anthem Blue Cross of California has unveiled rate increases of
up to 39 percent for its 800,000 individual policyholders.

These increases, which will take effect on March 1, far outpace
the increases of 10 to 25% seen in previous years among most
insurers offering individual policies.

Kaiser Health News and The San Diego Union-Tribune report that
as the economy slowly recovers, health insurance costs for
those with individual policies continue to increase due to
larger numbers of unemployed and those relying on government
health care programs. As a result, "hospitals and doctors are
passing on more of their uncompensated costs to patients with
private insurance."

The San Francisco Chronicle adds that "California physical,
occupational and speech therapists are also taking issue with
Anthem. The therapists said the insurer cut their reimbursement
rates by 30 to 50% on February 1. In addition, the Chronicle
reports that patients covered by other health insurers, including
Health Net and Aetna, are reporting being hit with sky-high

"This is exactly the kind of news that proves we need health
care reform immediately," said Barbara J. Easterling, President
of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

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