Anthem Insurance Goes Before Maine’s Highest Court 

Maine’s chief insurance regulator last year denied a rate hike on individual insurance plans requested by Anthem Insurance.Anthem says it’s losing money on those plans and appealed the ruling. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard that appeal in Bangor Wednesday.Meghan Hayward reports.The Director of Corporate Communications for Anthem, Chris Dugan, says this appeal is about whether or not the Superintendent of Insurance has the authority to make a company operate with a zero projected profit margin. The company had requested a three percent margin.”Even with three percent operating margin in the past, the product has lost more than 6 million dollars in the past five years and it’s important to have enough resources in the pool to take care of the needs of our members and patients.””You’re talking about a very challenging environment. This product in particular for instance in 2009, for every dollar that we received in premiums, we paid out almost a $1.04 in claims and expenses.”Dugan says folks who buy their own insurance are the ones that suffer when healthcare costs go up.”Because of the way our market works here in Maine, people can join or leave the market at different times. If you don’t have a risk margin in there, then you are going to have years in which you incur more claims than you bring in premiums. Which is why it’s vital that we’re able to have at least a risk margin to get ready for anticipated medical claims.”Members of the Maine People’s Alliance held a protest outside the courthouse.They don’t believe Anthem should be allowed a rate hike when everyone else is suffering during an economic downturn.”Health insurance companies are making plenty of money. They’ve got millions of dollars to spend on lobbyists, lawyers and ad campaigns that are attacking our healthcare reform.”The protestors say Anthem has plenty of money to cover any losses from this particular plan.”Anthem has profited grossly from their rate hikes in the past. They’re requesting another rate hike which will increase their profit by a huge amount. They don’t need that. They already have enough profit.”