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Colorado Blues Backtrack on Individual Health Premiums

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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Colorado will provide a premium credit totaling $20 million to about 90,000 individual health care insureds in the state.

In an agreement with the Colorado Department of Insurance (DOI), Anthem agreed to provide the credits to individuals insured by Anthem with certain individual health insurance policies from Jan.1 through Sept. 30.

Anthem, Denver, said it agreed to refund the policyholders either with a one-time premium credit on their December statement or through a check.

In October 2009, the Colorado DOI had approved three individual health insurance rate filings from Anthem for 2010 for individual health care policies. Then, following what the DOI called a “spike in consumer complaints” about the company, the DOI earlier this year intiated a market-conduct examination of the increases.

“Getting $20 million back into the pockets of Colorado consumers is a positive and beneficial outcome,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison. “We will continue our active review of all rate filings.”

The DOI said it initiated the exam in February after it logged 210 complaints about Anthem from December 2009 through March 2010. Most of the complaints were about rate increases, the DOI said.

In a statement, Anthem said it believes its rates “are appropriate, consistent with state law and in line with those of its competitors. As part of the agreement, the DOI reaffirmed our 2010 individual premiums, and those rates will not change.”

The DOI did not fine Anthem after the market conduct examination, the company noted.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Rocky Mountain Hospital and Medical Service Inc., an independent Blue Cross Blue Shield company.


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