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Lt. Gov. Roberts Opposes Blue Cross Rate Increase

Roberts urges Office of Health Insurance Commissioner to reject proposed 10.2% increase for direct-pay plans

PROVIDENCE- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts today voiced her opposition to the proposed double-digit rate increase for direct-pay plans submitted to the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. In written testimony submitted on the first day of public hearings on the proposed rate increase, Lt. Gov. Roberts requested that the application for an increase of 10.2% be rejected.

“All Rhode Islanders are struggling in the current economic downturn, but individuals and families who purchase their health insurance directly from insurers are the ones who can least afford this increase,” Roberts wrote. “Self employed Rhode Islanders who own small businesses and those who have no access to insurance through their employer will bear the brunt of the proposed double-digit increase. Some Rhode Islanders who have lost their jobs must turn to direct-pay plans in order to retain health insurance. In the face of double-digit increases I fear that many self-employed and unemployed individuals will choose to go without insurance.”

“This spiraling upward of health insurance rate increase requests will only continue if we do not address the underlying escalating costs of health care,” Roberts added. “The proposed rate increase should be rejected at this time and instead we should redouble our efforts to make controlling the costs of health care the focus of our implementation of health care reform in Rhode Island.”

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