Connecticut’s insurance commissioner says he will allow health insurer Anthem to raise rates, but not by as much as the company wanted.
Anthem caused an uproar earlier this summer by submitting a request to raise rates for some health plans by as much as 32%. The increases would apply to policies bought by individuals, rather than employer sponsored plans – in Connecticut about 56 thousand policies. Anthem says the claims costs on such plans have been increasing at a faster rate. But Thursday Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan said he would limit rate hikes, allowing an up to 20% increase in premiums on six of Anthem’s plans. He dubbed the original request excessive, and called the company tone deaf to the realities facing its policyholders.
But the modified permission hasn’t silenced Anthem’s critics – Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called the rate increases a crippling assault on consumers. He called for reform of the regulatory process to give stronger scrutiny and transparency through mandatory public hearings. The ruling has also been criticized by Connecticut’s healthcare advocate Kevin Lembo - he says he will introduce legislation giving his office more power to intervene in such rate cases.