By Jill Zorn
You may have missed it if you were enjoying the last few days of summer vacation, but Connecticut’s Insurance Department (CID) issued their health insurance rate decisions.
The good news is the result was mostly positive for consumers, as the CID chose to lower most of the rates requested by insurers.
However, the department did not exactly listen to the pleas of consumers who submitted written testimony about the burden of high insurance premiums. As this CT News Junkie article points out:
Regulators are only allowed to make sure the rates are “neither excessive, inadequate nor unfairly discriminatory.” They are not allowed to take affordability of monthly premiums into consideration.
So how are these decisions made?
Health insurance rates are calculated by actuaries, whose job is to try to predict the future and put a dollar amount on risk and uncertainty. The rates are built on a complicated set of assumptions about how sick an insurer’s customers are, how likely they are to use health care services and fill prescriptions, how much the cost of those services and medications will increase in the coming year, and many other factors.
In the end, the CID’s actuaries get to make the final decision. They approved rates that, while still going up, are generally not increasing as much as the companies proposed.
Interestingly, one company, Connecticut’s health insurance CO-OP, HealthyCT, was told they must raise their rates by more than was requested.
With insurance company mergers heating up, HealthyCT provides an important local, non-profit option for Connecticut residents. If their rates are too high, it will hurt their competitiveness. Yet, they also must have rates that ensure their continued solvency, in an industry that is “one of the most, if not the most, difficult industries to start up in.”
As for three companies involved in July’s rate review hearings, they’ve been told to resubmit their rates by September 3, with the expectation that they will be decreased.
We’ll provide an update once those rates are finalized.
To learn more:
CT News Junkie: Regulator Lowers Most Proposed Health Insurance Rate Hikes
Connecticut Insurance Department Rate Chart