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Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts Opposes Health Insurance Rate Hikes

Providence, RI - Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lt. Gov. Roberts Calls on Insurers to Change the Way Health Care is Paid for and Delivered

Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts today reiterated her strong opposition to the double-digit rate hikes proposed by Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Tufts Health Plan to offset reported losses and increasing costs.

“With close to 10% increases in premiums approved in February of this year, our business community and families simply cannot afford to shoulder double digit increases next year. Rhode Islanders are still struggling through a very fragile economic recovery, while flood loss remains a serious and unsolved problem for many businesses. Expecting them now or in the future to bear the burden of the insurers' inability to effectively manage and contain costs is simply not an option,” stated Lt. Governor Roberts, health care expert and Chair of the Long-term Care Coordinating Council.

The Lt. Governor has urged insurers to take emergency action to solve the problem by restructuring the way health care is paid for and delivered. She testified in opposition to the insurers' previous rate hike proposals in September 2009 and January of this year, citing health insurance as among the fastest growing costs for Rhode Island businesses and families.

“The answer to affordable health care for Rhode Island businesses and families lies with the insurers' ability to assure high quality affordable care. This trend toward continually requesting rate hikes tells me that insurers need to make serious structural changes in the way health care is paid for and delivered,” explained Lt. Governor Roberts.

The Lt. Governor has responded to the spiraling costs of health care and the implementation of national health reform in Rhode Island by spearheading an initiative with all stakeholders. This intensified public effort is Making It Work: Health Reform in Rhode Island, convened with the Rhode Island Foundation. On May 27th, the third of six sessions will address the importance of primary care reform to improve quality and drive down the cost of health care in Rhode Island.

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