CA insurance commissioner: Bar Anthem from health exchange

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California Health Insurance Exchange

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s insurance commissioner wants to exclude Anthem Blue Cross from the state’s new health exchange for small businesses, saying it’s made excessive rate hikes.

Dave Jones says three increases this year — including one of nearly 18 percent — were unreasonable. However, under state law he couldn’t block them.

The state-run exchange stems from the federal health care overhaul. Small businesses owners are expected to buy insurance for some 200,000 workers.

Covered California, the state agency involved, says it will consider Jones’ request.

Anthem told the Los Angeles Times that its rate hikes reflect rising medical costs and barring it from the exchange would hamper competition.

Anthem’s already been chosen to join another exchange offering coverage to 5 million Californians who lack health coverage through work.

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