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Health Net is cleared by state to raise premiums

The Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2010

A California health insurer got the green light Tuesday to raise premiums an average of 16% for 38,000 policyholders who buy insurance on their own.

Health Net Inc. will put new rates into effect Oct. 1 after it delayed the increases for three months while state insurance regulators reviewed its paperwork.

The go-ahead from the state Insurance Department comes less than two weeks after it approved double-digit hikes by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California. The state has yet to rule on a pending rate increase by Aetna Inc.

The announcement Tuesday highlighted the state's limited power to review insurance premiums, an issue debated in Sacramento.

In this case, the state evaluated whether Health Net properly calculated rates so that it devotes at least 70 cents of every dollar collected in premiums on medical care for its policyholders, as required by California law.