Outgoing Anthem BC president speaks out

August 16, 2010

The 39% rate hikes at Anthem Blue Cross in California, which the Obama Administration used to argue the need for health reform, was fought internally by the company?s president, according to comments she made after resigning.

The 39% rate hikes at Anthem Blue Cross in California, which the Obama Administration used to argue the need for health reform, was fought internally by the company’s president, according to comments she made after resigning. Leslie Margolin is leaving the large insurer to head a coalition named Transforming Health Care, according to statements she recently made.

Anthem’s parent company, WellPoint Inc., came under fire for planning such dramatic rate hikes when its profits were up. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, described the hike as excessive and wrote to Margolin, demanding an explanation. Anthem later withdrew its rate increase plan, which would have averaged 25% for its nearly 800,000 policyholders in California, after discovering accounting errors. It now plans a 14% rate hike, on average, which is capped at 20%.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Margolin did not object to the hikes during testimony in February, but did speak against them in later engagements. In her comments to the press, she said her resignation was not linked to the rate hike controversy.

Margolin’s experience prior to joining Anthem in 2008 included service as a senior vice president of health plan and hospital operations at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente. She had also worked for CIGNA Corp. for 13 years.