(Updated 5 p.m.) State Healthcare Advocate Victoria Velti wrote the Insurance Department Friday and asked it to hold a public hearing on Anthem’s proposal to increase its health insurance rates next year an average of 12.5 percent.
Veltri pointed out that some of Anthem’s plans will see an increase of 17.38 percent, according to documents the company filed earlier this month with the Insurance Department.
Veltri said she was making the request under an informal agreement she has with the Insurance Department in the wake of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s veto of a bill in 2011 that would have mandated a public hearing for any rate increase over 10 percent.
After Malloy vetoed the bill, Veltri and other advocates pressed the Insurance Department to agree to four public hearings per year for rate increases over 15 percent.
“Because of the broad public interest in ensuring a full and transparent vetting of concerns about proposed rate increases, it is critical that the rate filings are subject to public scrutiny,” Veltri said Friday. “The viability of the Health Insurance Exchange also depends on ensuring that we use this opportunity to ensure that the policies sold are as affordable as they can be while also maintaining actuarial soundness.”
ConnectiCare Benefits proposed an 11.8 percent increase and HealthyCT proposed an 8.9 percent decrease in their rates for 2015. This is the first year, UnitedHealthcare submitted a proposal to participate in the individual market on the exchange.
The Insurance Department doesn’t believe a public hearing is necessary, but it will hold one.
“We were surprised to receive this as we do not believe it meets the spirit of the 2011 agreement, (in which the Department grants OHA the limited authority to call four rate hearings in a calendar year), however the Department is willing to hold the hearing on the filing for the individual market,” Anne Melissa Dowling, deputy Insurance Commissioner, said Friday.
The public has until June 23 to submit their public comment on the proposals.