Despite the call for public attention, the rising cost of insurance passes the norm

Despite calls from the state attorney general and health care advocates to hear more about benefits to increase prices on health plans in 2023, Connecticut’s insurance department will continue to hold regular hearings, albeit in new locations.

Attorney General William Tong asked for a special meeting that would allow the authorities to gather evidence and seriously question the insurers about what they want to increase. Authorities could question witnesses and give their testimony in public.

Insurers who sell plans on and off Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act Exchange have asked the state to approve an average increase of 20.4% on health plans next year, and 14.8% on the plans of small groups, risk advocates who complain that many people will not be covered because they cannot afford them.

Tong explained that this special case is a crime.


“We need to test what they are saying and understand what causes the numbers; put people under oath and ask them questions and get to the bottom of this,” he said at a press conference last week. “I want to answer this question, because the people of this country do not deserve this.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Insurance described the hearing process as clear.

“Having people’s conversations in ways that [the department] what he did in the past and he thinks it will happen again this year, what is happening is doing it more openly than a [more formal hearing] because there are few restrictions or criteria put in place to participate,” said Jim Carson.

The regular process allows people to make oral and written comments on the issue and allows government officials and lawmakers to give evidence and ask questions “without asking the party and its participants,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr Tong said he hoped to continue discussions with the Department of Insurance for further information.

At the request of lawmakers who expressed anger at the increase in prices, the insurance department will move the case from its usual location at the state office building in Hartford to the Legislative Office of the Legislature to receive the expected large crowd.

A group of Republican lawmakers asked for more information after the proposed increases were announced.

“Holding this meeting at the Capitol complex allows for more public access to a space that was built to encourage community gathering, listening, speaking, and advocacy,” Senate Majority Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, and Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, wrote a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont, Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais and legislative leaders.

“As lawmakers, we believe that the government needs to do more to make health care affordable, and that includes a thorough review of why these price increases are happening, how policies affect prices, and pursuing — and not losing — solutions. The Capitol Complex and Legislative Office Building will allow that people should hear more.”

Insurance Commissioner Andrew Mais agreed to move the case.

“Due to the expected number of people and the participation of the people, this year’s meeting is expected to be held in August at the Parliament,” he said in response to the MPs.

A trial date has not been set. People can provide feedback in person or through Microsoft Teams. They can also provide written evidence. Anyone who wants to testify can write by sending an email to Cid.RateFilings@ct.gov with their name and testimony (including those who want to testify remotely).

“I’m glad that the insurance commissioner has heard our call to move the hearing to the Legislative Office Building for a better public hearing,” Kelly said. “This is an important opportunity for people to speak out against these price increases… We want to have a serious conversation about why healthcare is so unaffordable and unaffordable for so many.”

State Health Care Advocate Ted Doolittle said he hopes to ask more detailed questions to insurers to find answers about the drivers that cost money.

“Why do you have to raise the price of a CT scan? It’s the same machine, it’s the same people, it’s the same use. Why is the price going up?” he said. “That’s a question that I don’t think a cost-benefit analysis would be complete without answering.”

Three insurers are selling policies on the exchange: Anthem Health Plans, CTCare Benefits Inc., and ConnectiCare Insurance Company Inc.

Anthem asked for an average increase of 8.6% in individual orders affecting 27,698 people. The proposed changes range from a decrease of 1.8% to an increase of 16.1%, depending on the order.

The company also sought an average increase of 3.6% on the recommendation of a small group of 19,271. The proposed changes range from a decrease of 1.2% to 26.3%.

CTCare Benefits requested an average increase of 24.1% for private plans covering 75,003 people. The proposed changes range from 18.7% to 33.2%, depending on the policy. It also sought an average increase of 22.9% for small group plans covering 3,476 people (an increase from 20% to 28.9%).

Insurance company ConnectiCare, which only sells individual policies on the exchange, requested an average increase of 25.2% for plans covering 8,782 people. Expected rates range from 17.1% to 32.2%.

The insurance department will make this decision based on the amount of coverage it can provide – if any – for various health purposes.

Open enrollment for the 2023 health policy begins on Nov. 1.