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.”