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News Story
4/9/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
WALNUT CREEK — Nancy Bell figures she will be driving less now that she's retired. So the Oakland resident opted for a new kind of auto insurance policy that rewards drivers for doing just that. By signing up for a pay-as-you-drive policy offered by State Farm instead of an estimated miles policy, Bell could see her future premiums...
News Story
4/8/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
Oversight of Anthem Blue Cross individual plans is split between two health insurance regulators. One group is getting a break on cost increases. The other is not. Nearly 151,000 Anthem Blue Cross individual policyholders face rate hikes of as much as 26% on May 1, even though far more Anthem individual customers are getting a break this year...
News Release
4/8/2011
Posted by Doug Heller
Santa Monica, CA -- Consumer Watchdog, in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, warned that in less than a month more than 150,000 Californians will face a major Anthem Blue Cross rate hike and increased deductibles, despite a flurry of reports last month that there would be a reprieve.  The 150,000 Californians scheduled to receive a May 1...
Legal Update
3/30/2011
Posted by Jerry Flanagan
Today Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik takes a hard look at a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance opposed by Consumer Watchdog.  According to Hiltzik, under the settlement, Farmers would likely keep the lion's share of a $455 million settlement fund intended for consumers while lawyers for the plaintiff...
News Story
3/30/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
The class-action settlement will result in rebates for Farmers Insurance Group policyholders who were allegedly overcharged. But the insurer's own business units get to keep any money unclaimed by affected customers, who must fill out a 10-page claim form. Here's how to make a $455-million consumer class-action settlement disappear....
News Story
3/22/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
Anthem Blue Cross will lower its rate hikes planned for July and will hold off on increases to co-payments and deductibles until 2012, according to an agreement announced Monday by the state Department of Insurance. "This is good news for 600,000 policyholders," State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Monday, adding that the...
News Story
3/22/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
The California nonprofit Consumer Watchdog on Tuesday released a new report outlining state regulators' ties to industry. The report coincides with this weekend's spring meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where regulators are expected to consider legislation that would shield agents and brokers from some of...
News Story
3/21/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
LOS ANGELES, CA — Anthem Blue Cross, the largest health plan in California, said Monday it will delay and reduce rate hikes that would have hit some 600,000 policyholders at an estimated cost of $40 million. Anthem is one of four major health insurers in the state who earlier agreed to put off premium increases for at least 60 days at...
News Story
3/19/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
When health insurers notify members that rates are going up - often in the punishing double-digits - they typically blame rising medical costs. They say the problem really isn't theirs; it's all the other pieces of the health-care puzzle that drive up costs that must be passed on to customers. This triggers a backlash of frustration...
News Story
3/17/2011
Posted by Mark Reback
Insurer Was Under Pressure To Moderate Stance Blue Shield of California had the numbers to support its third rate hike on its 194,000 individual policyholders in the past seven months, but apparently overwhelming public disapproval prompted the abrupt cancellation of the last increase this week. The San Francisco-based insurer announced...