Anthem Rate Increase Public Hearing 

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is asking for a rate increase of nearly 23%on individual policy holders in Maine.Thursday, some of those folks got to speak out about the proposed changes during a public hearing in Augusta.”It’s gone from outrageous to obscene.”That’s how Peter Beckerman of Sidney describes Anthem’s proposal to increase rates on certain individual policies. They are the HealthChoice and Lumenos plans. About 18-thousand Mainers currently hold policies.Beckerman is retired and has a policy with a $15,000 deductible.”I’ve never made a claim on it. When you have a deductible that high. It’s a great impetus to stay healthy.””No one gets to use their insurance unless they’re in the hospital.”Policy holder Mary Stitzel testified that she’s never met anyone with these plans who has been able to use their insurance.So she’s wondering why Anthem claims this group is causing a loss for the company.Anthem says a small segment of the group is responsible for most of the claims”Only 4% of members are driving 80% of the cost. So it’s not a surprise that in your discussions with people you haven’t run into anyone who’s using it.”But the folks here point out that Anthem does turn a profit overall, the Maine People’s Alliance reports that in 2007 Anthem profits were more than $75 million.Anthem says Maine has regulations that make medical care and insurance expensive,and that’s what’s need to be fixed.”What’s happening now is called the death spiral meaning that each year there are fewer people in the pool”Anne Wallace says she might have to drop her insurance. She says if the rate hike is approved, her $10,000 dollar deductible policy will be the biggest expense in her family budget.”It’s daunting to me, it’s daunting to me that when you try to do the right thing, you get priced out. You start having to look at groceries or insurance.”Maine’s Insurance Superintedent has the final say. She has 30 days after the public comment period ends to make a decision. That ends Friday.If you have anything to add, you can e-mail your comments to [email protected]