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Connecticut attorney general, healthcare advocate oppose rate hike requests from health insurers

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Ebong Udoma
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and Healthcare Advocate Ted Doolittle have joined Democratic and Republican lawmakers in opposing 2023 rate hikes requested by health insurers.

The Connecticut Insurance Department is planning an informational hearing for early August. But Tong said they want a “formal hearing” to allow scrutiny of the hikes that average 20% for the individual market and 14% for the group market.

They want to be able to present independent analysis and question representatives from the state’s nine health insurers under oath, the Democratic said.

“We want to litigate these rates and we want to put these insurers to their proof and to test what they are saying to all of us,” he said.

In these tough economic times the public needs a say before hikes are approved, said Healthcare Advocate Doolittle. “These prices that are negotiated by the insurance companies in the main are paid by families. They don’t get a say in that negotiation,” he said.

Republicans want a public hearing at the state Capitol. They blame the Democrats' focus on expanding Medicare eligibility for driving up the cost of healthcare.

“We are pleased that Democrats too say they want a hearing on this issue, but we need much more than the typical rate increase hearings of the past where a select few gather behind closed doors in a small office before executive branch staff,” the top GOP legislative leaders said in a joint statement. “We need a full public hearing at the State Capitol before the legislature and the public we represent.”

Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais said in a statement that his agency has always accepted public testimony from consumers, consumer advocates, elected officials and others during the annual rate hearing process.

The 2023 rates approved by the agency would be announced in the fall.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.