Health insurers seek RI approval for 7-14% rate increases

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island have called for plans to be sold in the individual market for people who do not receive insurance through their employer. Blue Cross Blue Shield requested a 9.6% rate increase next year, and Neighborhood requested a 6.8% increase.

Melanie Coon, spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield, said in an email to The Globe that actual rate increases will vary depending on age and plan choice. She said the requested rate increases were being accommodated by “significant inflation in the cost of goods and services across all sectors of the economy, including medical services and medicines, and the return to utilization levels.” pre-pandemic health care”.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, Neighborhood Health, UnitedHealthcare and Tufts Health plan all filed breakout market plans.

UnitedHealthcare requested the largest increase of any insurer at 12.3% under their HMO plan and a 10.8% rate increase under their PPO plan. This is compared to the company’s request for the state to approve a 17.5% rate increase on its HMO plan and a 10.7% increase under its PPO plan in 2022.

A spokesperson for UnitedHealthcare did not immediately respond to The Globe for comment.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer with nearly 41,000 people enrolled in their small group plan in March, requested an 11.7% increase. Neighborhood Health requested a 9.3% increase.

Neighborhood Health’s vice president of commercial products, Elizabeth McClaine, said in an emailed statement that the majority of member premiums will be “significantly offset by increases in advanced premium tax credits.”

“The Neighborhood offers the two cheapest health plans in the state health insurance market,” McClaine said. “Even with the proposed rate increase for 2023, the district will remain the most cost-effective option, as we have done for the past nine years.”

Five insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Tufts Health Plan, Aetna and Cigna, have filed significant group rates. Aetna requested the highest rate increase at 13.4% while UnitedHealthcare requested the lowest rate increase at 11.3%.

Tigue, who is expected to approve, modify or reject proposed tariffs in mid-to-late August, said in 2022 that he was deeply concerned about the large requested tariff increases, which reached 20% last year.

“Recently, health insurers have generated substantial profits due to the reduction in medical services suffered during the Coronavirus disease 2019 public health emergency,” he said at the time.

But on Friday, Tigue said these proposed rate increases demonstrate the “continued need for shared responsibility by insurers and providers to address the underlying costs of health care to promote affordability for consumers and Rhode Island businesses”.

Cory King, director of policy at Tigue’s office, said the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner will review each health insurer’s coverage and benefit contracts with consumers to “ensure that plans sold in the Rhode Island meets all member benefit, access, and cost-sharing standards required by federal and state laws.

The office will accept public comments on proposed tariffs until July 12 in writing, and will also hear public comments at a virtual town hall in July. seven.

Alexa Gagosz can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.

Kristan F. Talley