Lawmakers urge state regulators to reject double-digit insurance increases
Lawmakers from both parties are lining up against massive rate hikes that six health insurance carriers are requesting. On Monday, state regulators will question the companies at a public hearing. You can weigh in too.
For individual coverage, ConnectiCare wants an average 25% increase for next year. For small business plans, Cigna is asking for 20% more and United HealthCare is requesting 14%.
You can see if your carrier is requesting a rate increase here.
On Friday, lawmakers had blunt words about the proposed hikes.
"These rate increase requests are absolutely jaw-dropping,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “In fact, stomach-turning.”
Republicans also oppose the increases.
The Connecticut Citizen Action Group says the increases are based on overly inflated cost projections, especially when carriers are reporting record profits.
"Last year, Anthem Insurance Company had a 33% increase in profits over the year before,” said CCAG executive director Tom Swan.
Insurers attribute the proposed increases to rising health care costs and new state laws, including a cap on out-of-pocket insulin costs.
In a statement, the Connecticut Association of Health Plans said: "As pharmaceutical prices rise and reimbursements to hospitals and other providers increase so, too, do premiums. The same is true when consumers utilize more health care services.”
In their rate filings, carriers also pointed to enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies that were set to end. But now, Congress is extending the subsidies until 2025 – part of the new Inflation Reduction Act.
"Subsidies only account for one factor in the equation,” the CAHP statement continued. “At the time that carriers were required by law to submit their rates, continuation of the subsidies remained in question.”
The General Assembly Insurance and Real Estate Committee co-chair says insurance companies are basing their increases on worst-case scenarios that are extremely unlikely.
"They are betting on a death spiral,” said state Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown). “They are betting on the Affordable Care Act to go away, and they are wrong."
Blumenthal added: "The request for this huge rate increase collapses like a house of cards under the most slight scrutiny."
These rate hikes are not a done deal. The Connecticut Department of Insurance will hold a public hearing Monday at 9 a.m. in Room 1-D of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. You can sign up in person 30 minutes before the hearing begins, or submit written comments here.