Health Inc.

Sebelius To States: Check Health Insurers' Rate Math

California looks to be leading the nation again. This time the state is at the forefront of catching insurers' rate errors.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius looks on as Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sand

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a White House meeting with insurance executives in March. Brendan Hoffman-Pool/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Hoffman-Pool/Getty Images

Actuaries hired by the state recently found Anthem Blue Cross, a unit of WellPoint, had overstated its costs when it proposed to raise rates on policies as much as 39 percent. The company dropped the controversial rate hike and is going back to the drawing board.

So now Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is urging other states to "follow California's example and check the math on rate increases," as she explained in statement. Who knows what they might find?

If states need help on rate reviews, Sebelius says the feds will soon be able to offer a little bit of money. The new health law includes $250 million to assist states with rate reviews, and Sebelius said HHS expects to tell states soon what they need to do to get some of the money.

As for WellPoint's math problem in California, the company said in an e-mail to the Associated Press that it believed its error was limited to individual policies in that state. Elsewhere, the company's statement said, WellPoint believes its rates conform with the applicable regulations and statutes.

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