LOS ANGELES — Thousands of worried Californians who buy individual insurance policies from Anthem Blue Cross will soon learn whether they face rate increases of up to 39 percent that were put on hold for two months amid a public outcry that helped revive national health care legislation.

California’s largest for-profit health insurer agreed to postpone the increases for many of its 800,000 individual policyholders until May 1 while an outside actuary, appointed by state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, evaluated its spending practices.

The actuary report from Axene Health Partners is expected within two weeks.

Poizner said in February that he would stop Anthem’s rate hikes if the report shows that the Los Angeles-based insurer spends less than 70 percent of its premium dollars on medical claims, as required by state law.

At the time, Poizner said that Anthem’s proposed increases could have a “devastating financial impact on hundreds of thousands of its policyholders in California.”

Poizner did not respond to requests for an interview. On Friday, representatives from his office and Anthem’s parent, WellPoint Inc., said the two sides had yet to address the rate hikes despite ongoing speculation that WellPoint might delay them an additional 30 days or limit the increases to 10 percent to 15 percent through the end of the year.

Poizner’s office is awaiting the actuary’s study. “Our next action is predicated on what the report says,” said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for the Department of Insurance.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.