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Lt. Gov. Roberts Opposes Blue Cross Business Rate Increase

Roberts urges Office of Health Insurance Commissioner to reject proposed double-digit increases for large and small business plans

PROVIDENCE- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts today voiced her opposition to the proposed double-digit rate increases for large and small business group plans submitted to the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. In a letter written to Health Insurance Commissioner David Gifford, Lt. Gov. Roberts requested that the application for increases of 14.6% for large groups and 11.5% for small groups be rejected.

“Rhode Island’s businesses and institutions continue to face dire circumstances and a tremendously challenging operating environment during this economic downturn. Rhode Island businesses continue to struggle to survive and keep their doors open,” Roberts wrote. “From the state’s largest businesses to small, family-owned businesses, deep and painful cuts and sacrifices are being made in operating budgets. The proposed double-digit increases in health insurance premiums will certainly put extraordinary strain on budgets stretched well beyond their limits, and may contribute to the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance in Rhode Island.”

“The continually rising tide of health insurance rate increase requests will only continue if we do not address the underlying escalating costs of health care,” Roberts added. “These proposed rate increases 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.”

Last week, Lt. Gov. Roberts submitted testimony to the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner opposing Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s proposed 10.2% increase for direct-pay plans.

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