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As health insurers request double-digit rate increases, Connecticut's elected leaders sound off

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal takes questions from reporters at the Connecticut State Capitol Monday, May 9, ahead of a U.S. Senate vote expected later this week on a bill to preserve abortion right nationwide. In speaking about his co-sponsorship of a similar bill in 2013, Blumenthal said, “The possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade seem(ed) like some very distant nightmare. Now, the nightmare is real. Now, the storm has hit us.”
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn)

State insurance officials are seeking public input at a hearing Monday regarding proposed double-digit rate increases filed by health insurers for insurance on Connecticut's federal Affordable Care Act exchange.

In advance of the meeting, Connecticut elected leaders sounded off about the hike requests.

At a news conference in Hartford, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal took health insurers to task.

“They don’t need this rate increase,” he said. “They have record profits. Literally, they are shattering past records in their profits.”

The increases would affect more than 200,000 people. Nine health insurers filed 13 insurance rate request, state officials said.

The Connecticut Insurance Department said the proposed average individual rate increase request is about 20%, compared to less than 9% the previous year.

Health insurers attributed the need for rate hikes to various factors, including rising pharmaceutical and medical care costs, as well as increased demand for medical services. They also point to pent-up demand from the many people who delayed medical care during the early part of the pandemic.

State Sen. Saud Anwar took issue with the insurers' rationale for the rate increase request.

“The cost of health care that is going up, it is not in proportion to what they are asking for,” Anwar told Connecticut Public in an interview.

Anwar said Connecticut families on the financial edge wouldn’t be able to afford the increased rates after paying for rent, utilities, food and other necessities.

“No family can survive in that manner,” he said. “And this is going to be very harmful for the people, the working people in our state."

The insurance department expects to make final rulings in September. Open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

Monday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. and can be viewed on CT-N, or in-person at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Learn more
Explore the insurers’ rate request filings here.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.

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