Statement by Attorney General Ton on Approval of Connecticut Department of Health Insurance Premium Increases
(HARTFORD, Conn.) – Attorney General William Tong today issued the following statement regarding increases to the 188,000 individual and small group health insurance plans approved by the Connecticut Department of Health.
“Insurers sought high premiums based on vague and unsubstantiated assumptions that contradicted nationally backed data. For the first time in the process, I was right to introduce affordability as a question item, and CID was right to help my office by eliminating instances of excessive double-counting and inflated estimates for new preventive care requirements. I also appreciate that you have taken into account some of the factors I have raised, but these rate hikes are still too high and very costly.Insurers now have no incentive to keep medical costs and premiums down. Families and small businesses in Connecticut are collapsing, and this needs to change.The vetting process in Connecticut is too condensed and too opaque to rely on the insurance industry’s unwarranted and unsubstantiated assumptions. Law changes are needed to force insurers to use their bargaining power to reduce ballooning medical costs. We need a robust, transparent review process that allows assumptions to be challenged and scrutinized. We look forward to working with providers, lawmakers and other stakeholders to protect Connecticut families and small businesses from these ballooning costs.” Attorney General Ton said.
In both written comments and in person at an informal hearing conducted by the Department of Health, Attorney General Tong said the double-digit rate hikes sought by Anthem, Cigna and Connecticare were unwarranted, unsupported by evidence and rejected. argued that it should be
Attorney General Tong’s comments urged insurers and CID to address broken incentive structures and bargaining dynamics between insurers and providers that are contributing to rising healthcare costs in Connecticut. . Prompted by Attorney General Tong, the insurer admitted at a CID hearing on August 21 that it never negotiated the cost of an individual procedure with hospitals or providers.
Attorney General Tong has advocated a more robust scrutiny process for insurers seeking to raise rates and apply actuarial assumptions beyond industry-accepted and government-developed standards. It is exploring the possibility of legislative changes that would impose more stringent scrutiny. He said that if the demand for a raise exceeds 10%, it would be under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, as agreed in a 2015 letter by then-insurance commissioner Catherine Wade to then-health advocate Vicky Bertoli. It continues to seek formal hearings.
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