LOS ANGELES (AP) California regulators have formally declared an April 1 rate hike from Aetna on small employers “unreasonable,” but the insurer isn’t backing down from the hike.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said Thursday that he doesn’t have the authority to outright reject Aetna’s 1.8 percent average quarterly rate increases.

Jones says annually, the hike amounts to an average 8 percent increase.

Jones determined the hike to be unreasonable after state actuaries found that Aetna’s projections about medical cost increases weren’t supported by actual claims.

Jones says Aetna made a 27.7 percent profit in 2011, paying $1.7 billion in dividends to its parent company.

Aetna did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Jones says small employers shouldn’t be hit with the rate increase.

Calif. Insurance Commissioner Declares Aetna Rate Hike ‘Unreasonable’ 5 April,2012KQED News Staff and Wires

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