Obamacare: Why Obama’s Buddies At Anthem Insurance Should Be Investigated

You may recall that the President singled out the Anthem Healthcare Insurance Company for criticism at a critical time in the health care debate.

Anthem is a young company as far as insurance companies go. Anthem began its journey as a “spin-off’ of American General Insurance in the 1980’s. In 2001 Anthem became a “publicly traded” “publicly owned” stock company. In 2004 Anthem merged with Blue Cross Blue Shield and later in 2004 Anthem merged again, this time with WellPoint Insurance Company. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is well known for its management of UAW related Health Insurance Programs, programs recently referred to as “Cadillac Health Plans”.

Just days after the President “negotiated” a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of “Obamacare” taxes to be levied on the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield “Cadillac Health Care Plans”, Anthem Insurance filed a rate increase request in California, a rate increase that would have resulted in up to a 40% price increase for some policy holders. (None of whom participated in the “Cadillac Plans”).  

President Obama was quick, surprisingly quick in fact, to criticize Anthem for the requested rate increase. When one considers how slowly the President responds to things, one might think he had advance notice of Anthem’s plans.

Sample Chrysler/UAW ID Card

Anthem prepared all of the necessary financial reports to support its request to increase “rates” or prices” and those documents were submitted to the regulators for review.

President Obama “rode this horse home” during the Obamacare debates, regularly referring to Anthem’s requested rate increase.

Today, during the President’s speech on the “Patient’s Bill of Rights”, Obama  noted two things relating to Anthem Insurance;  First,  that Anthem was prohibited from increasing rates on its own, that it was governed by regulators and that the regulators noted that Anthem had misstated their claim costs in the “rate increase” request and second; that Anthem subsequently withdrew the request that the President had so thoroughly publicized. I’d venture a guess that Anthem’s rate request is the best publicized rate request in the history of insurance.

Let me recap: Days after getting a “partial waiver, modification and delay” of Obamacare taxes to be levied against “Cadillac Healthcare

Plans”, plans Anthem manages for the UAW, Obama’s buddies at Anthem request a “rate increase” which cannot be supported by the

Obamacare Supporters Protest At Anthem Headquarters

required regulatory filings. Obama uses this “rate request” to demonize all insurance companies during the Obamacare debate and after Obamacare passes, it is noted, incidentally, that the Regulators who oversee requests to increase rates have caught Obama’s buddies at Anthem red handed and then Anthem simply withdrew their request.

During his speech today, the President implied his Administration deserved credit for Anthem withdrawing their rate increase request when he said, “We met with Anthem and convinced them to withdraw their request after they realized the numbers they submitted were wrong”.  

First, I suspect that Anthem knew the numbers were wrong from the beginning. It takes an enormous mistake to submit a filing that would result in a request for a 40% rate increase. Second, by using the word “we” when Obama refers to the requested rate increase discussion he is referring to State insurance regulators in California, not members of his Administration. Obama and members of his Administration met with Anthem prior to the requested rate increase, his Administration did not participate in the “review” of that request.

What a charlatan. 

The new Obamacare regulations had nothing to do with calling out Anthem’s “bogus rating plan” or Anthem’s “unsupported” request to increase prices – existing regulation and the existing regulators in California did so.

The Obama Administration would like you to think that it was just a “coincidence” that Anthem & the UAW received “special treatment” for the Cadillac Health Plans just prior to Anthem’s “requested rate increase” which was “filed” just as final negotiations on Obamacare began.

A complaint media went along without reporting on this scandal even once.

The timing of when “mandatory rate plans” must be filed are set by statute, but has anyone investigated whether Anthem’s rate filing was mandatory or “voluntary”? Wouldn’t you think that an Insurance Company, specially one with such close ties to the President, would double check the “facts and figures” before asking for a 40% rate increase, never mind asking for a rate increase while Obama traveled the Country demonizing insurance carriers?

How fortunate for the President that this despicable request for a 40% rate increase fell into his lap at just the right moment. The fact that the request came from such a close political ally is amazing.                

How stupid do they think we are!

Update: 07/21/2010

State of Colorado’s Review Of Athem Rate Increase Request Continues

A state review of insurance premium increases by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield that was to end this month is now expected to drag on for several more weeks, officials say.

The analysis into whether individual policy premium hikes of more than 30 percent were justified — despite state approval of the increases months earlier — took a turn, officials said, when investigators questioned whether they had looked at the issue thoroughly enough.

As a result, though the state had closed the bulk of its inquiry in June, state insurance and Anthem officials agreed to continue the analysis, Colorado Division of Insurance spokeswoman Cameron Lewis said.

That means thousands of Colorado consumers who’ve stomached the increases since January and hoped the state review would bring relief must continue to bear the higher premiums.

The review was expected to take eight weeks but is now pushing twice that. Still, it is “very close” to being finished, Lewis said, and it’s not uncommon for some reviews to take nearly a year.

But the regulatory process of allowing Anthem time to respond to any findings and a right to appeal any final action could add four more months — meaning it could be the end of the year before the case is closed.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee the analysis — called a market conduct examination and being handled by a Denver-based consulting firm — will result in a denial of the increase or refunds to more than 100,000 affected consumers.

Anthem, owned by Indianapolis-based WellPoint, has been the focus of several other inquiries across the nation after public outcries over its premium hikes, some as much as 39 percent. The Colorado average was 25 percent, Anthem said.

Three weeks ago, WellPoint agreed to dial down increases to its California customers in response to the criticism, opting for an average 14 percent hike rather than the 25 percent it had announced earlier. The rates could become effective Sept. 1.

The move came just after a California analysis found numerous errors in the company’s rate plan.

The insurer said the increases were necessary to keep it competitive, the result of heathier people dropping coverage in a tough economy. The hikes caused angry reactions nationwide over rising health care costs and turned the provider into the reform debate’s lightning rod.


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