Anthem Blue Cross, WellPoint (WLP) Unit, Sued for Allegedly Tricking Tens of Thousands Into Dropping ‘Grandfathered’ Health Plan
Anthem Blue Cross tricked tens of thousands of Calfornia policyholders into giving up health insurance plans from which they could not be dropped and pushing them into policies that Anthem knew would be cancelled, according to two lawsuits filed in Los Angeles.
The lawsuits, filed Monday in Superior Court, may signal an emerging customer pushback against the approximately 900,000 cancellations in California alone of individual health insurance policies that will take effect Dec. 31.
Before the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was passed March 23, 2010, California policyholders who bought individual insurance policies and kept up with premiums were grandfathered in, meaning the insurer cannot drop them. However, policy holders who purchased their insurance after March 23, 2010, or who switched out of plans purchased before the law was enacted, are not grandfathered and must, by Jan. 1, 2014, pay for a policy that is compliant with Obamacare. In some cases that means premium increases, especially for those who don’t qualify for federal subsidies. Others will lose access to their personal physicians or trusted specialists.