A Marin County family that spends more on their health insurance than they do on their home’s mortgage is among the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Anthem Blue Cross.
Mary and Gordon Feller say that during the past year, Anthem raised their premium by 80 percent and they now pay nearly $1,700 for health insurance each month.
"We’re seeing a system that bankrupts Americans," Mary Feller said during an Oakland news conference Tuesday.
The suit, filed Monday in Ventura County, accuses California’s largest for-profit health insurer of pushing policyholders to pay the rate hike, or sign up for different plans with fewer benefits and significantly higher deductibles.
The Santa Monica-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog brought the suit, saying Anthem violated a 1993 state law that requires health insurance companies to offer comparable coverage or minimal premium hikes if they cancel a policy.
"Today’s lawsuit is just the beginning of what is going to have to be a much more profound change in the state of California when it comes to healthcare," said Harvey Rosenfield, Consumer Watchdog’s founder.
Anthem has come under fire for raising the rates of 800,000 policyholders, mostly individuals who are not covered under group plans, some by as much as 39 percent.
A spokeswoman for Anthem declined to comment on the suit, saying the company had not yet received a copy.