Many CT health insurers plan double-digit rate hikes

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The cost of health insurance plans on and off Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act Exchange will rise by as much as 25% next year, according to final numbers released by the state on Friday, heightening concerns about access to health care.

Insurance officials approved the rate changes eight weeks after insurers proposed an average increase of 20.4% for individual plans and 14.8% for small group policies. The department approved an average increase of 12.9% on individual plans and 7.9% on small groups.

The approved changes range from a 6% decrease on some policies to increases of 20% and 25% on others.

While the average rate hike approved by the state is less than that requested by insurance companies, it still represents a significant cost increase for consumers in the coming year.

“Working on behalf of consumers, the department’s actuaries and professional staff have been able to reduce demands for health insurance rate increases. But the skyrocketing cost of health care that these premiums cover needs to be addressed,” Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais said in a statement. “The unit cost of inpatient and outpatient care has increased by around 9% per year. Prescription drug prices have risen again.

“The rates announced today will continue to protect consumers from inflationary prices and unwarranted profits while ensuring Connecticut residents access to a stable and competitive health insurance market. But we need to look at other avenues available to reduce overall costs and keep care, and this insurance, affordable.

Residents and health care advocates had urged state insurance officials to reject substantial rate hikes. On Friday, they reiterated concerns about how the finalized tariffs would affect health care access and affordability.

“Health care costs and insurance premiums were already unaffordable for many Connecticut families and small businesses,” Attorney General Tong said Friday. “These double-digit rate hikes – among the highest in the country – will only make the situation worse.”

“I am pleased that the insurance department has conducted a thorough review and offered reductions to the outlandish rate increases requested. But it’s still too high,” said state health care advocate Ted Doolittle. “I am concerned about access [to coverage] with these still significant rate hikes.

Lynne Ide, communications and engagement program manager at Connecticut’s Universal Health Care Foundation, said the General Assembly should pass legislation giving the Department of Insurance “more teeth” in the rate review process, including making consumer affordability a priority.

“The end result is that hard-working people and small businesses trying to provide insurance for their employees are left behind,” she said. “We need more time for these tariffs to be reviewed. And we need ways to bring other perspectives – authentically – into the process. We must demand that [the insurance department] puts consumer affordability first.

ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which sells on- and off-exchange plans to 75,003 people, asked for an average uplift of 24% for individual policies on the exchange. The insurance department approved an average increase of 15%, with increases ranging from 10% to 23.6%, depending on the plan.

ConnectiCare Benefits also requested an average increase of 22.9% on its small group policies offered through the exchange. The ministry approved 15%, with increases ranging from 13.1% to 18.9%, depending on the plan. The policies cover 3,476 people.

Anthem Health Plans, which sells policies to 27,698 people through the exchange, asked for an average increase of 8.6% on its individual plans. The Department of Insurance approved an average of 6.3%. According to the policy, the rate changes range from a decrease of 3.9% to an increase of 13.6%.

Anthem has sought an average upside of 3.6% on its small group plans. The ministry approved an average cut of 1.4%. The variations range from a decrease of 6% to an increase of 20.2% for policies covering 19,271 people.

ConnectiCare Insurance Company, which offers both on-exchange and over-the-counter plans, requested an average increase of 25.2% for its individual on-exchange policies. The ministry approved a 15% increase. The increases range from 9.1% to 20.3%, depending on the plan. There are 8,782 people registered.

Off-exchange policies range from a 0% increase (small group Aetna Life Insurance) to a 25.1% increase (an individual plan through ConnectiCare Benefits).

ConnectiCare attributed its increases to rising medical and pharmaceutical costs, as well as delayed care due to the pandemic.

Karen Moran, president of ConnectiCare, told a public hearing in August that the company suffered more than $65 million in losses in the individual market over the past year because rate increases had no impact. not track the increased use of medical services and the cost of prescription drugs, among other expenses.

“For an insurance program to be viable, rates must be sufficient to cover the payment of claims and the administrative costs of running the program. Over the past year, the total insurance premiums we have received are far less than the cost of care we have actually funded,” she said. “Previously approved premiums by the insurance department were significantly lower than what we needed to meet members’ needs. … The most important driver of our tariff increase proposal is to restore tariffs to an adequate level.

Cigna, which offers off-exchange small group policies, had asked for an average uplift of 19.6% on its plans. The insurance department approved 12%.

Sarah Souza, director of small groups actuarial at Cigna, said last month that even with the 2023 plan increases, the company’s premiums would be lower than the market average.

“For Silver plans, which are most popular among small employers, we have the lowest plan in six of eight rating zones representing the vast majority of small employer locations,” she said. .

Open registration for Health Policies 2023 begins November 1.

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