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Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts' Statement on Rate Increases Requested by State's Insurers for Small and Large Group Insurance

PROVIDENCE - May 18, 2011

Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts reiterated her strong opposition today to the rate request increases for small and large group insurance, averaging 10.5 percent filed by Blue Cross Blue Shield RI, and 18 percent to 20 percent filed by UnitedHealthcare of New England. The rate increases will affect businesses that purchase insurance through these carriers. Tufts Health Plan’s proposal, although still difficult for businesses to absorb, is significantly lower at 4.8 percent.

“The requested rate increases of up to 20 percent for group insurance are simply outrageous, and they pose a direct threat to Rhode Island businesses," said Lt. Governor Roberts, Chair of the RI Healthcare Reform Commission. "I urge the Health Insurance Commissioner to use his authority to reject these requests. Likewise, I urge our General Assembly to strengthen this office’s authority to protect Rhode Island businesses and families from having no choice but to accept such irresponsible cost increases.”

“Transforming delivery and payment of healthcare to make it more affordable and sustainable is a top priority of the Health Reform Commission,” Roberts continued. “Insurers and providers must find new ways to reduce costs and pass along the savings to businesses and families, not the other way around.”

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