Consumer Watchdog Campaign: WellPoint Threatens “Double-Digit Plus” Rate Increases But New CA Ballot Measure Will Force Health Insurers to Publicly Justify Their Rates Next Year

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Health insurance giant WellPoint this week threatened “double-digit plus” rate hikes next year, but won’t get away with unjustified increases if voters approve a California ballot measure to increase health insurance rate transparency and accountability this November, said Consumer Watchdog Campaign.  

“Is anyone surprised that WellPoint intends another year of outrageous rate increases when no one has the power to open their books and make them explain how they’re spending consumers’ premiums? This year, California voters can do something about it by voting in health insurance price accountability and transparency on this November’s ballot,” said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog Campaign.  

The insurer’s predictions contradict national trends in health care spending said Consumer Watchdog Campaign. Health care spending growth reached its lowest level in history last year, the fourth year in a row that increases fell below 4%.

WellPoint has done well on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, enrolling more Americans than any other commercial insurer with almost 224,000 signups in California through January and 500,000 nationwide.

The Insurance Rate Public Justification And Accountability Act on California’s November 2014 ballot will:

•    Require health insurance companies to publicly disclose and justify, under penalty of perjury, proposed rate changes before they take effect.
•    Make every document filed by an insurance company to justify a rate increase a public record.
•    Require public hearings on proposed rate increases.
•    Give Californians the right to challenge excessive and unfair premium rate increases.
•    Prohibit health, auto and home insurers from considering Californians’ credit history or prior insurance coverage when setting premiums or deciding whether to offer coverage.
•    Give the insurance commissioner authority to reject unjustified rate increases.
•    Allow the insurance commissioner to order rebates for consumers and businesses that are paying excessive rates.

Learn more the Insurance Rate Public Justification And Accountability Act at

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Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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