Health Inc.

WellPoint Hikes Insurance Rates Closer To Home

Well, well, WellPoint.

Now some folks in the Indiana-based insurer's backyard say whopping rate increases on the company's individual health coverage aren't limited to California.

The Indianapolis Star reports on hikes of 31 percent and more that are set to kick in March 1.

It's all perfectly legal. In Indiana, insurers that want to raise premiums more than 30 percent in a year have to get the approval of state regulators. WellPoint said it did.

Even so, customers are outraged, the Star says. "It doesn't make sense to me," a 52-year-old early retiree facing a 38 percent increase in monthly premiums, tells the Star.

For its part , WellPoint told the paper rising health care costs were to blame and that the company supports health care overhaul to fix the underlying problems. The insurer said in January that its medical costs 8.9 percent in 2009.

President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius lambasted the insurer's Anthem Blue Cross of California unit for hiking rates as much as 39 percent. Health overhaul, Obama said over the weekend, is still needed to take a bite out of problems like this one.

Now Congress wants an explanation for the Anthem premium increase in California.

But, as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, Anthem isn't alone in raising rates in the Golden State. Health Net and Aetna are also charging a lot more for health coverage, making it tough for people who buy their insurance to shop around.

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