politics

Public Can Weigh In On Health Insurance Rate Hikes for 2022

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Ten health insurance companies are proposing an average rate hike for next year of between nine and 13% and the public will get a chance to weigh in on the proposals.

The public has until 4 p.m. tomorrow to get their testimony to the state Insurance Department.

Insurance regulators will hear from the public and the carriers next week at a hearing on the proposed rate hikes for 2022.

“Whether or not small business, small nonprofits, individuals can afford these plans, that really does need to be taken into account before we consider rate hikes,” Rev. Josh Pawelek of the Unitarian Universalist Society: East said.

He said every year, health insurance for three of his employees increases.

“It's hard. It’s hard to not have any consistency. It’s hard on our staff,” Pawelek said. 

Deb Dauphinais, who runs Bicycles East in Glastonbury with her husband, said she just wants to provide affordable care to her employees.

“Regardless of the rate hikes, they’re paying more and still not able to access their health care because that deductible is so high,” Dauphinais said. 

“Access to a policy doesn’t equal access to care,” she said.

“We can give them a good pay rate but we cannot find them accessible health care and affordable health care,” Dauphinais continued.

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said there’s bipartisan support to reduce the cost of healthcare.

“It is upsetting to see that these prices are going up when we have put forward initiatives that would reduce premiums by 25 to 30%,” Kelly said.

“This rivals a mortgage payment,” he added.

“You want to make sure you have rates that are sufficient to support claims,” Susan Halpin, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Health Plans, said. 

Halpin who represents the health insurance industry, said the rate increases are justified.

“COVID is unpredictable at this point in time. We know that there is pent up demand as elective surgeries and other types of treatments have been postponed over the last 12 months,” Halpin said. 

A recent state study found 165,000 households faced unaffordable health care costs.

“Together with the uninsured and the 165,000 people who actually can’t afford insurance. They have meaning. They pay more for their insurance than their mortgage," State Comptroller Kevin Lembo said. 

Lembo said insurance regulators should take affordability into consideration.

“We pay in the private sector an $18,000 premium for a $12,500 family deductible. And that’s not sustainable,” Dauphinais said.

The public can submit testimony to CID.Ratefilings@ct.gov by 4 p.m. tomorrow. The hearing will be held virtually starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31.

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