© 2023 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

After announcing health insurance rate hikes, Conn. officials say they’re working to lower costs

State officials assured residents Tuesday that federal subsidies should help cover the health insurance rate hikes announced last week – at least for some.

Most of the state’s residents get private health insurance through their public, private or nonprofit employer. But about 200,000 residents get insurance on their own or through a small group policy. It’s rates for those individuals that, on paper, are seeing an average 13% increase.

Gov. Ned Lamont says his insurance team reduced those proposed rates significantly by, among other things, limiting the insurers’ profit margin to half a percent. On top of that, roughly half of the people affected by the hikes could be eligible for significant federal subsidies through 2025.

“You see the sticker shock price,” Lamont said. “But overwhelmingly, almost all of you are going to see at best a very small increase, given the subsidies you’ve got.”

Paul Lombardo, assistant deputy commissioner at the state insurance department, says the problem isn’t the cost of insurance. It’s the cost of health care.

“The premiums that people are paying the state for health insurance are a direct result of the health care delivery system in our state,” Lombardo said. “And that’s comprised of [the] unit cost of services, utilization of those services, and the severity of those services.”

Lamont says he and his team are working on other measures to control rising costs of health care.

Still, there was some dissent in Hartford. State Attorney General William Tong criticized the insurance department, saying it acted too quickly to allow sufficient scrutiny of the proposed rate increases. In a joint statement, Republicans also blamed the governor for acting too late.

"[W]hy are we waiting for October of an election year to talk when Democrats have held the majority for over a decade and could have done something about it?” asked Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and ranking member of the Insurance Committee Sen. Tony Hwang. “No matter how the administration downplays the increase, Connecticut families are going to pay more for health insurance because Connecticut Democrats failed to act and blocked common sense achievable solutions that would have reduced health care premiums.”

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.