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(Some) states push back on rate increases—finally!

It's that time of year – health insurers are petitioning states for rate increases. But this year, a small number of states are requiring added scrutiny. Where are the others?

It’s that time of year. No, not just for pumpkin spice lattes, but for health insurers to petition state Departments of Insurance for the next year’s rate increases.

Everybody, brace yourselves.

Each state does it a little differently. Typically, insurers have to outline their various lines of business to get approval for their requested rate hike. And in their minds, rates hikes should be handed out as freely as Oprah giving away free cars.

So what’s different this year? The pushback has finally begun!

Per a recent press release from the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, the average increase for individual plans in that state is 8.6-12.9% for small group plans. Seems rather steep, and it seems Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong agrees. Tong and healthcare advocate Ted Doolittle are urging for the highest level of scrutiny during this process.

And from what we know about health plan pocketbooks (ahem, they’re loaded), such scrutiny is needed. These are the companies that broke profit record after profit record as patient care tanked due to the pandemic. So, like AG Tong, we’re wondering what reasoning health plans have for spiking premiums for individuals and businesses.

Cheers to Connecticut, but are other states following their lead? A few to name: In Rhode Island, lawmakers and residents have petitioned against rate hikes proposed by top insurers, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and United Healthcare. And in New York, the state’s Department of Financial Services announced the 2022 health insurance premium rates, highlighting the requested rates by many insurers. The good news? New York cut rates in the small group market in half.

So while a few states have stepped up in big ways, and while we believe AG Tong’s request should apply nationwide, we’re still waiting on the others to follow their lead.

Who will answer next?

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