Connecticut Approves Rate Hikes for Health Insurance

The Connecticut Department of Insurance on Friday approved increases on health insurance premiums of 5.6 percent for individuals and 6.7 percent for small group plans in the year 2022.

ConnectiCare Benefits Inc., which covers 81,000 people on its on-exchange individual plans, will be allowed to raise premiums an average of 5.5 percent, a decrease from the originally requested 7.4 percent. 

In its final filing with the Department of Insurance, ConnectiCare said the company expected increased behavioral health costs in 2022 and ongoing costs of COVID-19 vaccination. It said that a bill passed in the legislature that will cap the cost of insulin starting in 2022 also contributed to the rate increases. 

Anthem, which requested a 12.3 percent increase on its individual plans, was approved for a 5.8 percent increase. The plans cover 28,000 people. For their group plans, which cover 25,500 people, the Department of Insurance approved a 2.5 percent rate increase, a sharp drop from the requested 11.5 percent. 

In its initial rate request filing, Anthem estimated that COVID-19 costs, including testing, vaccination and treatments, would account for between 7 and 8 percent of its premium increases. Anthem said it also expects that the 2020 drop in demand for elective procedures will rebound to normal levels.

Oxford Health, which covers 47,000 individuals in its small group plans, was approved for an average increase of 10.1% instead of its requested 15.8%. 

In an August 31 hearing on the rate requests, insurers also pointed to the perennially growing costs of healthcare as motivation for the rate increases, and particularly prescription drug costs. 

Steven Ribeiro, the regional vice president of sales at Anthem, said during the hearing that some of the costs came from the “ongoing reshaping of healthcare providers in our state,” as well as state legislation around insulin and telehealth, premium taxes, assessments to fund state agencies and run public health programs, and the cost of underwriting the state exchange. 

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