Make your voice heard against rising health insurance rates

By Rosana G. Ferraro

It’s that time of year again — when insurance companies ask for health insurance rate increases for individual and small group plans. While this happens every year, this year is different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is outrageous that health insurance companies are asking for rate increases in the midst of a pandemic. People have been using their health care less this past year, since many are avoiding doctor’s offices and hospitals so they don’t get sick.

In fact, UnitedHealth Group saw it’s most profitable quarter in history in the 2nd quarter, and other health insurance companies are not worried about their profits, despite the economic downturn.

We encourage you to submit comment on rate increases that would impact you. The deadline to do so is Aug. 22. We have a complete how-to guide at the end of this post if it’s your first time. It is important for insurance companies and the Connecticut Insurance Department to hear how rates will impact every day folks.

As the September 2nd rate review hearing nears, we’ll be collecting petition signatures to bring to the hearing. You can sign the petition here.

You’ve probably heard about rate review, rate filings, increases in premiums — here’s what you need to know about it.

One part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reformed how individual and small group health insurance plans are priced. Now those plans are looked over at the state level and have to be approved by the state insurance department before they can be sold to consumers — this is known as rate review.

Who is impacted by rate review?

People who have individual market plans (not through their employer, Medicaid, or Medicare)

People on small group market plans, which are for small businesses of 50 employees or less.

So what is rate review?

The Connecticut Insurance Department has a resource about rate review in Connecticut, but it basically goes like this:

  1. Health insurance companies have to submit rate filings by a deadline set by the Connecticut Insurance Department. They provide information on the individual and small group plans they want to sell for the next year. Rate filings include the proposed rate increases and decreases for the plans the company is selling, and their justification.
  2. The Connecticut Insurance Department reviews all the information submitted in the rate filings, specifically looking at whether rates are excessive. (Note: Excessive has not been interpreted to mean “excessive for the consumer,” even though we know that the cost of health insurance is unaffordable for many individuals and small businesses.)
  3. The public has the opportunity to comment online about the proposed rates through the Connecticut Insurance Department website’s dedicated webpage.
  4. There are often public or informational hearings about some of the rate filings. Now, due to the pandemic, the public hearing on September 2, 2020 will likely be virtual.
  5. The Connecticut Insurance Department will then make a decision to approve the rate requests depending on the information gathered during the review and hearing process.

Have a question about rate review or story to share? Email jnappo@universalhealthct.org.

Want to stay in the loop on rate review? Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page — we’ll keep you up to date and you’ll get our monthly newsletter too!

Universal Health Care Foundation of CT fights on the front lines of health care activism and policy, because health care is a right everybody in Connecticut and beyond should enjoy. Join us here for more content and action opportunities.

We are an activist philanthropy in CT fighting on the front lines of health care activism, because everyone deserves health care.

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