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Calif. approves average 14% Wellpoint rate hike

California regulators on Wednesday approved WellPoint Inc's (WLP.N) plan to raise rates for individual health insurance policies by an average of 14 percent, after errors were found in the company's original rate hike request. An initial bid by WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross unit for an average 25 percent rate increase for around 600,000 policyholders drew heavy criticism earlier this year from Democrats as they rallied support for the recently passed U.S. healthcare reform law. WellPoint, the largest U.S. health insurer by membership, said it intends to put the new rates—with increases as high as 20 percent—into effect Oct. 1.

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