health insurance

Insurance Companies Questioned About Proposed Rate Hikes

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Two insurance companies were called out over rate hikes they've requested for next year.

On Monday, people got the chance to sound off at a Connecticut Insurance Department public meeting about proposed health insurance rate hikes for next year.

Word that some rates would increase 20% or more had lawmakers outraged at a press conference on Friday.

"Rate hikes in health insurance are staggering and stunning. It's unaffordability [and] unsustainability, and the consumers are crying for help," Sen. Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield) said.

State leaders asked a lot of questions, searching for answers as to why insurance companies are asking for such sky-high rate hikes.

ConnectiCare Insurance Company President Karen Moran said that over the past year, their losses for the individual market have exceeded $65 million. The company said their premiums have been far less than the care they've funded with high costs of medical services. Because of this, the company is asking for an average increase of 25% for individual plans in the state's health insurance exchange.

Cigna said even with their proposed rate increase of nearly 20%, their premiums continue to be lower than the market average.

The Connecticut Insurance Department says on average, the individual rate would go up about 20% compared to last year. It’s about a 15% spike for the small group rate.

Actuaries are evaluating rate hike requests and the state insurance department commissioner said they follow a standard of practice for what they can and will approve to make sure rates aren't excessive.

"I hate seeing rate increases, but I also know having been here, you go to the supermarket, prices go up…supermarkets aren’t making more money," Commissioner Andrew Mais said.

He stressed that last year, they slashed requested rates from insurers.

Some lawmakers and Attorney General William Tong are pushing for more time for investigating the hikes and for more input from consumers. But the insurance department sticks by this hearing and the work of their actuaries.

In the meantime, state healthcare advocate Ted Doolittle suggests health insurance start working with state leaders to curb high prices of care and pharmaceuticals.

"If you’re hitting a wall with one of our healthcare systems, don’t suck it up alone. Is come to the general assembly, the attorney general, and the commissioner and say, 'these are the prices we’re looking at for 2024 guys,'" Doolittle said.

The state Insurance Department expects to issue its final ruling in September.

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