Insurance companies quizzed on proposed rate hikes – NBC Connecticut

Two insurance companies have been called in on rate hikes they have requested for next year.

On Monday, people had a chance to ring in a Connecticut Department of Insurance town hall meeting about proposed health insurance rate hikes for next year.

The fact that some rates would rise by 20% or more had outraged lawmakers at a news conference on Friday.

“The rate hikes in health insurance are staggering and staggering. It’s unaffordable [and] unsustainability, and consumers are crying out for help,” said Sen. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield).

Heads of state have been asking lots of questions, seeking answers as to why insurance companies are asking for such steep rate hikes.

ConnectiCare Insurance Company president Karen Moran said that over the past year, their losses for the individual market have topped $65 million. The company said its premiums were far lower than the care it had funded with the high costs of medical services. For this reason, the company is asking for an average increase of 25% for individual plans in the state health insurance exchange.

Cigna said that even with their proposed rate increase of almost 20%, their premiums continue to be below the market average.

The Connecticut Department of Insurance says that, on average, the individual rate would increase about 20% from last year. This is a peak of 15% for the small group rate.

Actuaries assess requests for rate hikes, and the commissioner of the state insurance department said they follow a standard of practice for what they can and would approve to ensure rates aren’t excessive.

“I hate to see price increases, but I also know that being here you go to the supermarket, prices go up…supermarkets don’t make more money,” Commissioner Andrew Mais said.

He pointed out that last year they reduced the rates charged by insurers.

Some lawmakers and Attorney General William Tong are asking for more time to investigate the hikes and for more consumer feedback. But the insurance department is sticking to that hearing and the work of its actuaries.

In the meantime, state health care advocate Ted Doolittle suggests Medicare start working with state leaders to reduce high health care and pharmaceutical prices.

“If you hit a wall with any of our healthcare systems, don’t suck it on your own. Came to the general assembly, the attorney general and the commissioner and said, ‘these are the prices we let’s look for guys from 2024,” Doolittle said.

The state insurance department is expected to issue its final decision in September.

Kristan F. Talley