© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Connecticut's attorney general fights double-digit health insurance rate hike

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Office of the Connecticut Attorney General

Double-digit rate hikes being sought by health insurance providers draws criticism from Connecticut lawmakers from across the aisle at a public information hearing.

“What I ask the department to do today is to push back on that,” State Attorney General William Tong urged state Insurance Commissioner Anthony Mais at the hearing.

“These insurers would have an incentive to go back and use their leverage to negotiate lower reimbursement rates. This is just one reason why these rates are excessive and unjustified and must be rejected,” Tong said.

Anthem, Cigna and ConnectiCare have requested to raise their 2024 rates by an average of just over 12% for individual plans and nearly 15% for small group plans.

The increases are needed to keep up with the trends of rising prescription drug prices and increased demand for medical services, said insurance company representatives at the hearing.

Some GOP lawmakers blamed Obamacare for the health care cost increases.

“The Democrats 10 years ago made a promise with the Affordable Care Act that they would make health care affordable, they would improve quality and increase access to Connecticut citizens and yet here we are,” said Kevin Kelly, the state Senate minority leader.

“The more people the state puts on Medicaid the more upward pressure there is on private insurance which means the people paying for their private insurance are really underwriting that medical cost,” he said

The Connecticut Hospital Association agreed with Kelly. The association blames rising inflation driven costs, workforce shortages and government underpaying caregivers for services provided to patients on Medicare and Medicaid, and treating sicker patients than before the pandemic.

"The rise in commercial health insurance cost growth also requires the state to address the significant underpayment by Medicaid for healthcare services, which puts significant pressure on commercial health insurance costs,” CHA said in a statement following the hearing.

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.