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Connecticut Health Insurers Defend Double-Digit Rate Hikes

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In hearings on Wednesday, the two insurers in Connecticut’s health insurance exchange defended their requests for double-digit rate hikes for 2018.

ConnectiCare Benefits has asked for a 15.2 percent average rate hike for its 51,000 individual market customers on the exchange. The rate increases range from 8.4 to 18.7 percent. Roberta Wachtelhausen, with ConnecticCare, says the hike is necessary because of uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

“We continue to be committed to the people of our state and recognize the value the ACA has brought to our friends and neighbors. Our company has been challenged by flawed federal programs, unmet commitments of the ACA, and the acceleration of the cost and use of care.”

Wachtelhausen says President Trump’s vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act is partly to blame.

“The uncertainty created by the current political and regulatory environment, coupled with the underlying increasing cost of care, requires the rates as filed to ensure that we can sustain our business.”

The other insurer, Anthem Health, is seeking an average 33.8 percent increase for individual health insurance plans both on and off the exchange. That means its 35,000 customers would see rate increases from between 19 to 52 percent.

The Connecticut Insurance Department says the public has until July 1 to comment on the requests.

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.