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Anthem Defends Rate Increase In Connecticut

AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File

Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc. is defending its request for a nearly 27 percent rate increase in 2017 for Connecticut subscribers to its individual health insurance plans. Anthem officials made their case in Hartford on Wednesday.

Anthem’s individual plans cover about 56,700 Connecticut residents.

Speaking at a state Insurance Department public hearing, Anthem official James Augur said the increase is necessary because it makes up for rising prescription drug costs and an inadequate 2016 rate.

“Though higher than we would like, the 2017 rate is actuarially sound and adequate under the law,” Auger said, “And it will enable Anthem to maintain its commitment to the individual market.”  

Social activist Matt McDermott of Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut challenged Anthem’s request.

“These are excessively high rate increase requests,” McDermott said, “They will drive many employers and many individuals to drop coverage altogether.”

The insurance department has scheduled two additional hearings on Thursday for rate increases requested by ConnectiCare Inc. and Aetna Inc., both based in Connecticut.

ConnectiCare is asking for an average 24 percent increase for individual plans that cover more than 37,000 people. Aetna is asking for a nearly 28 percent increase for its individual plans that cover more than 6,000 people.

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.