Frightened about proposed medical insurance rate hikes? Connecticut residents can weigh in at an Aug. 15 hearing. – Hartford Courant

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The general public could have a likelihood to weigh in on a request by insurance carriers to extend the fee of individual health plans next 12 months by a mean of 20.4%.

The state Insurance Department has scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 15 starting at 9 a.m. The hearing, typically held in a state office constructing downtown, will happen on the Legislative Office Constructing on Capitol Avenue in Hartford. The event was moved to accommodate what is predicted to be a larger-than-usual crowd.

The hearing could have a hybrid format, with some people testifying in person and others testifying virtually. Representatives of the insurance firms could have time to clarify their rate hike requests, and officials from the insurance department will ask questions.

Anyone who desires to testify virtually can join by sending an email to cid.RateFilings@ct.gov with their name and written remarks by noon on Aug. 12.

Those that need to testify in person can join on the Legislative Office Constructing the day of the hearing, starting at 8:30 a.m. Oral remarks will probably be limited to 3 minutes per person.

Along with the substantial average increase on individual plans, insurers who sell policies on and off Connecticut’s Inexpensive Care Act Exchange are looking for a mean hike of 14.8% on small group plans.!

The requested increases are substantially higher than those sought last 12 months for 2022 health policies. Carriers in 2021 asked for a mean hike of 8.6% on individual plans and 12.9% on small group plans.

The proposals have sparked criticism from health care advocates, who fear more people will forgo coverage because they’ll’t afford it.

“It’s jaw-dropping,” Lynne Ide, program lead for communications outreach and engagement on the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, said last month. “ these rate requests, the ranges are off the charts.

“Our big concern straight away is, coupled with inflation and the fallout from COVID, these proposed increases spell trouble. Our concern is that individuals will take a take a look at this and choose to go without health coverage, because they simply can’t afford it.”

“My jaw hit the ground, obviously,” added Ted Doolittle, the state’s health care advocate. “I’m deeply concerned that individuals will go without coverage due to these high prices. It’s incumbent on the insurance firms and the providers to clarify to the people within the state why that is inevitable and there is no such thing as a alternative.”

Attorney General William Tong asked for a special hearing that will allow officials to gather evidence and scrupulously query insurers about their proposed increases. Officials would have the option to cross-examine witnesses and present their very own evidence in a public setting.

To this point, the insurance department has not granted that request, as an alternative choosing the standard informational hearing format that it has followed in recent times.

Three insurers are selling policies on the exchange: Anthem Health Plans, CTCare Advantages Inc., and ConnectiCare Insurance Company Inc.

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Anthem requested a mean increase of 8.6% for individual policies that cover 27,698 people. The proposed changes range from a decrease of 1.8% to a rise of 16.1%, depending on the plan.

The corporate also sought a mean hike of three.6% on small group policies that cover 19,271 residents. The suggested changes range from a decrease of 1.2% to a rise of 26.3%.

CTCare Advantages asked for a mean hike of 24.1% on individual plans that cover 75,003 people. Proposed changes range from a rise of 18.7% to 33.2%, depending on the policy.

It also sought a mean hike of twenty-two.9% on small group plans that cover 3,476 residents (increases range from 20% to twenty-eight.9%).

ConnectiCare Insurance Company, which only sells individual policies on the exchange, requested a mean increase of 25.2% for plans that cover 8,782 people. Suggested hikes range from 17.1% to 32.2%.

The insurance department will make a call this fall on how much of a rise to grant — if any — for the assorted health plans.

Open enrollment for 2023 health policies begins Nov. 1.

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