California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will recommend that the Covered California SHOP exchange exclude Anthem Blue Cross from selling small business coverage. Jones cited a pattern of “unreasonable rate increases” for small groups by Anthem, amounting to more than 17% in the past year, according to Jones.
Frustrated by his lack of authority to reject premium increases, Jones is using his power under the ACA to recommend that the state exchange, exclude insurers with a pattern of excessive premium increases. In November 2014, voters will decide whether to give him that rate control authority in a ballot initiative.
Anthem says that small business rates are going up 11.5% on average this year and warned that excluding Blue Cross of California from the SHOP would sharply reduce competition.
“The idea you would exclude one of the most widely chosen health plans in the state is ridiculous,” said Micah Weinberg, a senior policy advisor at the Bay Area Council, an employer-backed San Francisco group. “All this would do is make health reform for the small business market less attractive.”