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Mar 1, 2010 7:21 PM

Anthem Blue Cross sued over price hikes

A group suing Anthem Blue Cross claims California's largest for-profit health insurer is manipulating coverage and forcing patients into policies with higher deductibles
but fewer benefits.

Consumer Watchdog filed the lawsuit Monday in Ventura County Superior Court. It accuses Anthem of violating a state law requiring health insurers to offer new, comparable coverage or minimize premium increases when they close a policy.

Anthem policyholders say they were forced into lesser policies with rising rates.

Anthem spokeswoman Peggy Hinz says the insurer hasn't yet reviewed the lawsuit and declined further comment.  The insurer has come under fire recently for proposing to hike rates for roughly 700,000 individual policyholders by up to 39 percent.

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