Democrats accuse health insurer of profiteering

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Reporting from Los Angeles and Washington – Congressional Democrats on Wednesday accused the parent company of Anthem Blue Cross of putting profits ahead of policyholders, saying the giant insurer padded its proposed rates while lavishing generous salaries and benefits on top executives.

Lawmakers, citing internal documents from WellPoint Inc., said the company had sought to inflate individual policyholders’ premiums to counteract anticipated concessions to state regulators.

WellPoint officials denied they had padded premiums and said the company’s profits were modest.

The rate hikes of as much as 39%, set to take effect May 1 for many of Anthem’s 800,000 California customers with individual policies, have been the focus of vocal criticism by policyholders, consumer groups, regulators, members of Congress and the Obama administration.

Full story: Lawmakers accuse WellPoint, parent company of Anthem Blue Cross, of profiteering – via