Worried about the proposed health insurance rate hikes?  Connecticut residents are eligible to attend an August 15 hearing.  – Hartford Courant

Worried about the proposed health insurance rate hikes? Connecticut residents are eligible to attend an August 15 hearing. – Hartford Courant

The public will have the opportunity to consider asking insurance companies to increase the cost of individual health plans next year by an average of 20.4%.

The state insurance department has scheduled a public hearing for August 15 starting at 9:00 am. The hearing, typically held in a downtown state office building, will take place at the Legislative Office building on Capitol Avenue in Hartford. The event has been moved to accommodate what should be a larger than usual crowd.

The hearing will be in a hybrid format, with some people witnessing in person and others witnessing virtually. Insurance company representatives will have time to explain their rate hike requests, and insurance department officials will ask questions.

Anyone who wants to testify virtually can sign up by emailing [email protected] with their name and written submissions by noon on August 12th.

Those who want to testify in person can register at the Legislative Office Building on the day of the hearing, starting at 8:30 am. Oral observations will be limited to three minutes per person.

In addition to the substantial average increase in individual plans, insurers who sell policies inside and outside the Connecticut Affordable Care Act Exchange are looking for an average 14.8% increase on small group plans.!

The requested increases are substantially higher than those sought last year for health policies 2022. Carriers in 2021 requested an average increase 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 give up coverage because they can’t afford it.

“It’s astounding,” said Lynne Ide, director of the communications awareness and engagement program at the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut last month. “Looking at these tariff requests, the ranges are off the charts.

“Our big concern right now is that, coupled with inflation and COVID fallout, these proposed hikes can cause problems. Our concern is that people will take a look at this and decide to forgo health coverage, because they just can’t afford it. “

“My jaw hit the floor, obviously,” added Ted Doolittle, advocate for state health care. “I am deeply concerned that people will be left without coverage due to these high prices. It is up to the insurance companies and suppliers to explain to the people in the state why this is inevitable and there are no alternatives. “

Attorney General William Tong called for a special hearing that would allow officials to gather evidence and scrupulously question insurers about the proposed increases. Officials would be able to question witnesses and present their evidence in a public setting.

So far, the insurance department has not accepted this request, instead opting for the traditional information hearing format it has followed in recent years.

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

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

The company also sought an average 3.6% increase on small group policies covering 19,271 residents. The suggested changes range from a decrease of 1.2% to an increase of 26.3%.

CTCare Benefits requested an average increase of 24.1% on individual plans covering 75,003 people. The proposed changes range from an increase of 18.7% to 33.2%, depending on the policy.

It also sought an average increase of 22.9% on small-group plans covering 3,476 residents (increases range from 20% to 28.9%).

ConnectiCare Insurance Company, which sells only individual policies on the stock exchange, requested an average increase of 25.2% for plans that cover 8,782 people. The suggested increases range from 17.1% to 32.2%.

The insurance department will decide in the fall how much of an increase to grant, if any, for the various health plans.

From 1 November, open registrations for health policies 2023 begin.

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