May 8, 2017

Most CT insurers propose double-digit rate hikes

With healthcare insurance costs more of an unknown nationally, the state of Connecticut is about to grapple with double-digit rate increase requests from insurers that go as high as 33.8 percent.

The higher rates are being driven by more people using healthcare services, higher healthcare and prescription drug costs and overall uncertainty in the healthcare market, officials said.

The Connecticut Insurance Department on Monday set a June 14 hearing date and released 14 initial proposed insurance rate hikes for 2018 in both the individual and small group health insurance markets.

The proposed average individual rate request increases range from 15.2 percent to 33.8 percent. The average small group increase rate requests range from 3.6 percent to 31.6 percent, Insurance Commissioner Katharine L. Wade said.

The proposed rate increases, which can be found here, cover plans sold on and off Connecticut's health insurance exchange, Access Health CT. ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., HPHC Insurance Co., Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of Connecticut, Anthem, Oxford and UnitedHealthcare all submitted rate requests.

UnitedHealthcare, whose plan covers 433 people and their dependents, proposed the lowest increase of 3.6 percent. ConnectiCare, whose four plans combined cover more than 85,600 people in both individual and small group policies, proposed a range of increases from 8.8 percent to 26.3 percent. The rest of the insurers' proposals are increases of 10 percent or higher.

"In the 2018 rates we are seeing claims experience that reflects increased medical and prescription drug costs along with higher utilization as well as uncertainty in the marketplace," said Wade.

Carriers have until May 15 to make adjustments, Wade said. Hearings for each rate request will be formally announced in advance of the public hearing in June, she added.

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