Heads of state push back on requests for rate hikes from insurance companies

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Requests for rate hikes from insurance companies are being pushed back.

Companies like Aetna, Cigna and ConnectiCare want to raise rates by an average of 24%, at a time of record profits.

The Department of Insurance held an all-day hearing Monday.

This hearing took place to give information and it got a little heated.

The attorney general grilled these insurance companies, accusing them of wanting to increase rates when families were already in difficulty.

“Outside of this room, it’s real life. And in real life, many Connecticut families are suffering,” Attorney General William Tong said.

From gas prices to food, Connecticut families are paying more for everything. Now insurance companies want to charge more.

“Small employers can and do have a strong voice in the marketplace by choosing who they use for health care coverage,” said Wendy Sherry of Cigna.

While small employers have a choice, six companies are asking for rate hikes.

“Connecticut is still suffering from the effects of COVID, they’re trying to get back on their feet,” Tong said. “It’s really difficult for everyone and we can’t handle 10 to 15 to 25 raises as high as 33.2% requested in this room today.”

The insurance industry proposed rate increases last year. The insurance commissioner says they negotiated lower rates, but base prices still went up.

“People can’t put food on the table and afford other necessities, so it’s not a good time to increase or anytime to increase the rate,” said James Williams, owner of a little company.

“The fact that four of the six insurance companies did not bother to bring a representative shows that they have a lack of concern and transparency and that they are respectful of the consumer who foots the bill,” said said Senator Tony Hwang.

“The hearings were completely transparent, everyone was able to attend the department’s hearings,” said Connecticut Department of Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mias.

It intervenes during record salaries. The Cigna CEO reportedly earned $91 million last year, the most of any executive. Democrats proposed a public option that would have allowed small businesses and individuals to enroll in the state insurance plan.

“What we’re seeing year after year are rate increases, record profits, they’re doing well, CEO pay is through the roof but small businesses in Connecticut are really struggling,” the senator said. Matt Lesser.

There will be a public hearing on October 3 where people can register to testify. You can also submit a written testimonial directly on the Department of Insurance website here.

Kristan F. Talley