Anthem Blue Cross raises premiums by as much as 39 percent

We’re accustomed to seeing stories about rising health insurance rates, but this is really something else:

Anthem Blue Cross customers got a shock this week when the health insurer informed thousands of individual policyholders that their premium rates will jump as much as 39 percent on March 1.

The company, based in Woodland Hills (Los Angles County), declined to say how many customers received the increase or what the average premium hike was, but the insurer has the largest number of individual customers in the state. Last year, when Anthem Blue Cross raised rates by as much as 68 percent for some customers, the company said it had about 800,000 members.

“There aren’t any other parts of our society where people have no regard for inflation rate and increase their prices this much. I can’t imagine anything in the world that’s going up 39 percent,” said Josh Libresco, 54, of San Rafael, as he grappled with the news that his family premium will go from $858 per month to $1,192 – and that’s with a $5,000 deductible.

This comes on top of a 68 percent increase in premiums last year for some customers. (Hey, good news! Premiums are decelerating!)

Nearly three million Californians buy health insurance through the individual market.

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