California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent letters to three more of the state's largest health insurance companies--Anthem Blue Cross, PacifiCare, and Aetna--asking them to refrain from increasing premiums for at least 60 days beyond the effective dates of their most recent rate filings with the California Department of Insurance.
On Jan. 6, Jones sent a similar letter to Blue Shield after the insurer notified policyholders of impending insurance rate increases as high as 59 percent.
The commissioner does not have the authority to reject excessive premium increases but can ensure they are in compliance with state regulations. A new state law requires health plans and insurers seeking rate hikes to provide detailed actuarial information, which state regulators must review and post electronically.
"I have an obligation to California policyholders and to the law to closely scrutinize any rate filings, and that is what I intend to do," Jones said in a press statement. "The request I have made for additional time from these insurers is one that I believe to be both fair and reasonable, given that I was sworn in only last week. I hope they will comply."
Jones was sworn into office Jan. 3, replacing Steve Poizner, who, instead of seeking another term, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor.