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Lt Gov. Roberts: Health Insurance Rate Hike Deal Bad for Rhode Island

Roberts says agreement between Blue Cross and Attorney General has failed Rhode Islanders who cannot afford health insurance rate increases

PROVIDENCE- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts today decried the agreement reached between the Office of the Attorney General and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island approving a 9.5% increase for direct-pay plans submitted to the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner.

“As Rhode Islanders struggle through this economic downturn, the 9.5% rate hike agreed to by the Attorney General and Blue Cross is simply unaffordable and unacceptable,” Roberts said. “This rate hike affects Rhode Islanders who can least afford any increase, let alone one that tips toward double-digits. The self-employed, small business owners, and individuals who have no access to insurance through their employers or who have lost their jobs will see health insurance become simply too expensive – and they will have nowhere else to turn.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island initially submitted rate factor filings to the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner proposing a 10.2% increase. In written testimony submitted to the public hearing on the proposed rate increase, Lt. Gov. Roberts requested that the application for the increase be rejected.

“The deal to allow a 9.5% rate hike for direct-pay plans may be a reduction of the initial proposal, but is unsustainable and fails to address the issue of affordability,” Roberts continued. “Affordability is one of the standards for rate filings, and by law, should be considered as part of the equation for determining fair and reasonable rate increases. The process here has clearly failed Rhode Islanders who cannot afford these rate increases, and I am hopeful that the Health Insurance Commissioner will keep the affordability standard uppermost in his mind as he reviews this matter.”

Related links

Department or agency: Elizabeth Roberts, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Online: http://www.ltgov.state.ri.us/

Release date: 01-27-2010

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