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Anthem Blue Cross Investigation Leads to 700 Violations

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As California's largest for-profit health insurer comes under fire for raising premiums an average of 25%--up to 39% for some--the state's Insurance Commissioner yesterday released findings that the company has broken the law at least 700 times.

"When consumers pay their premiums every month, they expect insurance companies to uphold their part of bargain and pay claims quickly, correctly and comply with all other legal requirements," Commissioner Steve Poizner said in a press release. "Our investigation has revealed more than 700 instances where Anthem Blue Cross has violated the state's claims handling laws. From a failure to respond when the Department of Insurance requested information to investigate complaints to misrepresenting the facts to consumers, these are serious violations and if they are proven in the enforcement action, Anthem Blue Cross will be held liable for them."

Each violation could carry a $10,000 fine if the actions were found willful. Last year Poizner settled with Blue Cross for $15 million in a case about the company rescinding policies of some 2,300 customers.

A congressional hearing about Anthem's premium increases is set for tomorrow in Washington D.C.