Speak Now, Or Forever Bless Your Health Insurance Rate Hike
Loyal readers of The Newtown Bee have already seen two prior weeks of coverage, mostly detailing the negative outcry over health care providers requesting 20% individual health plan rate hikes next year.
These providers, according to Newtown delegation member and State Senator Tony Hwang, are mostly enjoying immense profits since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven of the leading health insurance providers — based on an analysis of annual proxy disclosures from UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health, Anthem, Cigna, Humana, Centene, and Molina Healthcare — are adding insult to pending economic injury by paying their CEOs more than $283 million in 2021 — by far the most of any year in the past decade STATnews.com reports.
We, and presumably most of you readers who could face this massive insurance rate hike on top of everything else these days, agree with a statement from Ted Doolittle, Connecticut’s health care ombudsman and a former federal health care official.
Doolittle recently stated that if that group of seven individuals was delivering what they should be delivering to the American people, he would have no problem paying them $283 million.
What they should be delivering to Americans, Doolittle pointed out, is no increases to their health care expenses. “They should be focused on the prices they are paying to pharma and hospitals, in particular, but they’re not. So they’re being rewarded for the wrong thing.”
Two Connecticut-based companies on that list are Cigna and CVS-Aetna. Cigna CEO David Cordani took home more than $91 million in 2021, the most of any insurance executive. And he’s registered $366 million since 2012. CVS-Aetna — the only company that has lagged behind the market since 2012 — has nonetheless doled out mostly performance-based compensation of $265,741,187 to CEOs over the past decade, SEC reports show.
At the same time, our partners at The CT Mirror report that on small group plans, the carriers are asking for an average increase of 14.8%. This unjustified and excessive escalation in rates has advocates, including Hwang, fearing a measurable backlash of people forgoing health insurance because they cannot pay.
With inflation at a 40-year high, and high prices of food, services and energy already taking too much money out of your wallet, the only pressure that might be applied to sway decisionmakers in the State insurance department, Newtown’s State Rep Mitch Bolinsky says, is from you.
Bolinsky says nine health insurance providers covering approximately 206,000 people have filed for increases for both the state-sponsored health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, and off-exchange plans. The insurers cite several factors for the increases, including health care trends, the impacts of COVID-19, legislative actions, and the discontinuance of federal ARPA money.
But the time is painfully short to make your voices heard. Public comment period is open until August 8. It is critical that all consumers who will be adversely affected let state regulators know they want to contest these large increases, Bolinsky says.
File your opposition now by visiting the Connecticut Insurance Dept website, or directly at catalog.state.ct.us/cid/portalApps/HCfiling2023.aspx
Do not wait until your renewal rate is already sealed. Haven’t your health insurance providers — and execs — profited enough?