health insurance commissioner

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General is appealing to Superior Court to stop rate increases for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island customers, saying the rate hikes are too steep.

State Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner recently issued decisions about how much health insurance rates could increase for 2016. Most increases were in the single digits.

The Bottom Line: Legislative Recap

Jul 12, 2013

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and mull over the recent legislative session. They discuss attempts to restructure the state’s Economic Development Corporation, historic tax credits and the new health insurance commissioner.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

For the first time, Rhode Island’s insurance commissioner has directed health insurers to disclose what they pay for health care services. But that information won’t necessarily be directly available to patients.

Stew Milne

Rhode Island’s first health insurance commissioner, Christopher Koller, will be leaving his post this summer. Koller will be heading a foundation in New York City.

Rhode Island health insurers have filed their requests for increases in premium rates next year. Some small businesses and individuals could see some significant hikes.

Small businesses could see their plan rates drop as much as 20 percent or spike as much as 40 percent. But the average Blue Cross increase is expected to be about 15 percent. Tufts asked for about 13 percent.

Rhode Islanders’ health insurance rates will be rising again in 2013. One reason is an unexpected dip in actual medical costs.

Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner recently approved rate increases for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tufts. For Blue Cross, those increases will be an average of about 3.7% for small group plans and 7.9% for large groups. The state’s biggest insurer had initially applied for a much lower increase. But Blue Cross vice president of legal services Monica Neronha says that was based on what they paid out for members in 2011.