Public to give testimony on rate increases

Providence, RI – By MEGAN HALL
Rhode Islanders will have a chance to weigh in on proposed health insurance rate increases at a public meeting at 4:30 this afternoon at the Department of Labor and Training.

The requests for raising the price of small and large employer based insurance range from the single digits to the double digits.

If you lined up the rate requests from order of smallest to largest increase, the list of health insurance companies would go like this- Tufts health plan at just under five percent, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island in the middle at just over 10 percent, and United Health Care with a 18 to 20 percent increase.

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts says that discrepancy proves there's something wrong with United and Blue Cross's requests.

"Not only is 18 to 20 percent unreasonable, I think it's not justified when you look at another health insurer able to request less than five percent," she says.

Blue Cross and United say their rate requests reflect the increasing cost of health care. Each health plan would spend more than 82 percent of the money they collect to pay for member's medical costs.

Less than 15 percent would pay for administrative costs, followed by money for reserves or profits in the single digits. Tufts plans to devote none of its premium dollars to reserves.

More details
Read the Health Insurance Commissioner's summery of the requests here

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