Last night, the selfless executives of California insurance behemoth Anthem Blue Cross (and parent company WellPoint) took time away from their usual Tuesday evenings volunteering at the soup kitchen to appear before those pesky members of the State’s government who just won’t stop harping about Anthem’s plans to raise rates on individual policy holders as much as 39%. Anthem’s answer: Let’s stop all this nonsense and just raise rates already!
“We have wasted precious time and precious resources doing battle with each other,” Anthem president Leslie Margolin, who has already had to delay the rate hike to May 1 because of these annoying intrusions, explained. “We must come together collaboratively and strategically to address the distressing symptoms of our troubled system — rising premiums, for example — and to address the fundamental underlying causes of our collective failure.”
But until the easily resolved issue of overhauling the entire healthcare and insurance industry is out of the way, it’s time for Anthem customers to dig deep — or find new coverage.
Lest you think greed is a motive in Anthem’s decision to move forward in the face of all this “moral outrage,” Margolin says this to quell your concerns:
“We have no interest in profit beyond the range I have described… Profits in the range of 2.5% to 5% are reasonable profits. They are appropriate profits. They are profits that we have as… a responsibility to keep a viable business surviving.”
See? She has a responsibility! And that responsibility isn’t to trim the bloat at one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. No, not when you can do that by pricing out 10% of your customers through price increases averaging 25%.
Even so, Assemblyman Dave Jones had the audacity to ask, “Have you no shame?”
For now, Anthem must sit on its beneficent bum while outside actuaries certify their claim that the company, as required by law, spends at least 70% of its premiums on medical claims. That study is expected to be completed by mid-April.