CT attorney general seeks halt to hearings on higher medical health insurance rates. Here’s why. [Hartford Courant] – InsuranceNewsNet


Connecticut Attorney General William Tong on Tuesday urged the state Insurance Department to halt a planned Aug. 15 public hearing considering insurance rate increase requests as Congress considers extending a tax credit he said could reduce the necessity for higher prices.

In a letter to Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais, Tong said the U.S. Senate is predicted to debate and vote this week to increase tax credits that Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare Advantages Inc. assumed would expire Jan. 1.

That assumption was identified by the 2 insurers and state Insurance Department as a “significant driver” behind the double-digit rate increase requests, he said.

Representatives of the 2 insurers didn’t immediately reply to an email in search of comment. The Insurance Department didn’t immediately reply to Tong’s call for a delayed hearing.

Referring to possible Senate motion as a “significant development,” Tong asked the Insurance Department to halt all consideration and planning for the scheduled Aug. 15 public hearing.

“The tax credit extension can be a game changer and will significantly reduce the necessity for a rise,” the attorney general said. “It might be a dereliction of our duty to consumers to proceed with a hearing on rates built on what now appears to be a foul guess.”

If Congress extends the Federal Advance Premium Tax Credits, rate increase requests should be revised and would reflect substantial savings to consumers, Tong said.

Insurance firms that sell policies on and off Connecticut’s Reasonably priced Care Act exchange submitted proposals in July in search of a median increase of 20.4% on individual health plans next 12 months. On small group plans, the carriers are asking for a median increase of 14.8%.

Tong and other elected officials criticized the speed proposals last month, urging a proper hearing to query insurance executives and present an independent evaluation. Critics have said steep medical health insurance cost increases should not sustainable as consumers already struggle with the very best rate of inflation in 40 years.

Stephen Singer might be reached at [email protected].

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