Connecticut Insurance Dept. Rejects Anthem’s Proposed Rate Increase
On Friday, Connecticut insurance regulators announced that they had rejected a 20% premium rate increase proposed by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state's largest health insurer, the Hartford Courant reports.
The decision by state Insurance Department officials, who called the proposal "excessive," drew the praise of federal and state officials.
A public hearing to review on the rate proposal was held Nov. 17, five days after former state Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan officially stepped down from his post.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), who participated in the rate review hearing, said the insurance department's rejection is "virtually unprecedented -- a flat total denial."
He said the decision "is a timely holiday gift for policyholders struggling with unemployment and a stalled economy," adding that it "hopefully marks the dawn of a new era for the Insurance Department, real scrutiny and service to consumers."
The state Office of the Healthcare Advocate, the state's House Speaker and the state medical society also hailed the decision (Sturdevant, Hartford Courant, 12/3).
DeParle Says Rejection Is Example of the Power of the Overhaul
In a blog post published on Monday, White House Office of Health Reform Director Nancy-Ann DeParle wrote, "The work in Connecticut shows the power of premium review -- a process used by states to evaluate and approve proposed health insurance premium increases."
DeParle noted that the federal health reform law included $250 million to assist states in reviewing requests to increase premiums. She added, "We've already seen premium review hold down rate hikes in California, Massachusetts, Maine and now, Connecticut, and we expect to hear more good news from other states in the months ahead."
DeParle also said that beginning next year the overhaul will require health insurers to publicly justify any large premium increases (CQ HealthBeat, 12/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.