Health plans

Insurance companies demand higher rates for health plans next year

Arielle Levin Becker ::

ConnectiCare is one of many insurance companies looking to increase health plan premiums next year.

Insurance companies selling on and off plans for Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act exchange, Access Health CT, are again looking to increase the cost of premiums – this time for policies that begin in 2022.

The average rate increase proposed for individual health plans next year is 8.6%, up from a request of 6.3% in 2021. Suggested rate hikes range from 5.1% to 12.3 %, depending on policy.

For small group plans, the average proposed rate increase is 12.9%, compared to 11.3% in 2021. Recommended rate increases range from 7.4% to 15.8%.

“I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m disappointed it’s the same story this year,” said Lynn Ide, director of programs and policy for the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, an advocacy organization. “We focus on the impact on the consumer every year, and we were looking to see if they would factor in the fact that many families and small businesses that buy in the personal and small group markets are still struggling. And we’ve been looking at reports on banner profits for insurance companies over the past year and we’re wondering, what are they going to do? Well, they gave us the same old answer, “We’re going to ask you for more money. “

State comptroller Kevin Lembo also criticized the proposed increases. Lembo was a strong supporter of legislation creating a public option health plan in Connecticut, although the effort failed this year after the insurance industry shrank.

“After an elaborate lobbying and advertising campaign to successfully kill the reforms to make healthcare more affordable, it only took six weeks for the industry to come back and demand more money from residents and residents. small Connecticut businesses, ”Lembo said.

“The health care options currently available to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits are not about keeping people healthy. They are meant to make a handful of companies unlimited money. … I encourage the public to comment on these rate increases and to demand action from those whose job it is to represent their best interests.

Residents will have the opportunity to influence requested increases, both online and in person.

Here are some key things to know about the proposed rate hikes: photo file

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield offices in Wallingford.

What is required?

Anthem Health Plans and ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which sell individual and small group policies on the stock exchange, are both asking for increases.

Anthem is looking for an average increase of 12.3% for its individual plans that cover 28,701 people. ConnectiCare Benefits is asking for an average increase of 7.4% for individual policies that cover 81,852 residents.

The two are also seeking rate hikes for breakout plans. Anthem requested an average increase of 11.5% for policies that cover 25,529 people, while ConnectiCare requested an average increase of 13.6% for policies that cover 1,786 residents.

The exact increases vary by plan. Ten insurers also sell policies on the stock exchange. A full list of insurers and requested rate hikes is available here.

Why are insurers looking for higher rates?

Carriers attributed the proposed increases to growing demand for medical services and the rising cost of prescription drugs, among other trends. They also highlighted an increase in morbidity and expected severity of claims due to delays in care during the pandemic.

“Stalled demand is expected throughout 2021 and an increase in behavioral illnesses expected in 2022,” the Insurance Department, which is reviewing the claims, said in a statement.

Additionally, carriers cited recent legislation, including a bill passed last year that caps a 30-day supply of insulin at $ 25, as the reason for the recommended increases.

“We remain keenly aware of the impact of rate increases on our members and strive to keep our plans as priced as fair as possible in the reality of today’s healthcare environment,” said ConnectiCare spokesperson Kimberly Kann said in a statement. “Our proposed rates are based on several factors, including trends in medical and pharmaceutical costs and the use of medical services above historical standards.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing an increased disease burden, which is expected to continue to drive demand for medical services and to anticipate the ongoing costs of vaccinations and treatments. “

Alessandra Simkin, spokesperson for Anthem, added in a statement: “We are committed to ensuring that consumers have a choice of health plans that offer affordable prices, access to quality care and benefits. that meet their needs. Our case reflects market conditions, and we look forward to working with the Crown as we continue the regulatory process. “

State Insurance Department officials, including Commissioner Andrew N. Mais, second from right, ask questions of insurance officials in 2019.

What is happening now?

Insurance actuaries will review requests for increases. As part of the review, they will examine trends in unit cost (total expenses incurred by the business), use of services, and expected severity of claims. The ministry will ask questions of insurers and seek clarification if necessary. It will also hold a public hearing to seek comments from carriers, healthcare advocates and the public.

After review, the ministry may approve the entire requested increase, reject it, or change it to another number it deems appropriate. The final changes will be published in September.

Are the proposed rate increases still approved as requested?

No. Last year, for example, Anthem Health Plans requested an average 9.9% increase in its individual plans, which served 22,071 people through Access Health CT. The insurance department approved a 1.9% increase.

ConnectiCare Benefits Inc. requested an average increase of 5.5% in its individual plans on the exchange, which at the time covered 75,174 clients. The insurance department signed a decline of 0.1%.

In 2019, Anthem requested an average 15.2% increase in individual plans. The Insurance Department has approved a 6.5% increase for these policies.

That same year, ConnectiCare requested a 4.9% increase on individual plans. Instead, the insurance department approved an average increase of 2%.

Insurance officials are attending a public hearing on the proposed rate hikes in 2019.

How can I provide entry?

The state will hold an information hearing on August 31. Insurers will explain why they are asking for the increases, and the public is invited to comment.

The hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at 153 Market Street (7efloor) in Hartford. Public parking is available at the nearby Morgan Street garage.

The hearing will also be broadcast via the Insurance Department’s YouTube channel. Residents can submit a written testimonial by sending an email to

Comments can also be submitted on the ministry’s website. Click the “select” button on any rate deposit listed here and a comment box will appear.

When does the open registration start?

Open registration for the 2022 health plans will begin on November 1.