Health Care Reform Blamed for Huge Hike in Premiums | NBC Connecticut

Health Care Reform Blamed for Huge Hike in Premiums



    Getty Images
    The Anthem Blue Cross headquarters is seen after the health insurer began informing its individual policyholders of rate hikes up to 39 percent to take effect at the beginning of March, on February 9, 2010 in Woodland Hills, California. Anthem Blue Cross, which has the highest number of individual customers in California, raised rates by as much as 68 percent in 2009. Health insurance companies in California can legally raise their rates at any time by as much and as they want. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)



    The state has given Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield the go ahead to raise premiums by as much as 47 percent for some members, and says health care reform is the reason why.

    Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan on Oct. 6, asking what he called "excessive" increases were approved without full consideration of all the facts. His letter mentioned rate increases for both Anthem and Aetna.

    The new rates took effect Oct. 1, and include increases from 19 percent all the way to 47 percent depending on the individual, the Hartford Courant reported.

    Sullivan responded to Blumenthal saying the new rates included "very rich benefits" mandated by federal law.

    "There is not one person in the state of Connecticut who will see an increase in their current premiums based on what the department approved for Anthem and Aetna," Sullivan said in a release. "The rates that were filed and approved reflect the current cost to deliver care and the impact of more comprehensive benefit designs required under the federal healthcare reform law. If the attorney general wants to complain to someone, he should complain to Congress."

    People who were enrolled in the Anthem program prior to the increase will not see a change, according to the agency. The increased rates will be applied to new customers.

    In a letter to Blumenthal, Sullivan said the rates granted were reduced from the company's original request of 39 percent to 58 percent increases.

    "I find myself in an unprecedented place and time, as do my counterparts throughout the country, in overseeing one of the most far-reaching policy initiatives enacted by the federal government in recent history," Sullivan said in the letter. "It is unfortunate that this reform, while addressing insurer behavior, has provided little to no reform of the escalating costs of the health care delivery system."